As a writer, I am always on the lookout for stories. Ever since I attended a dazzling lecture in New York City 20 years ago by the wonderful mystery novelist Mary Higgins Clark, I have pondered her suggestions of suppose, what if, and why each time I hear or read a tantalizing tale.
A few years ago, my brother and I went to New York for a long weekend. He was looking to purchase a small pad in the city so that when he made business trips there he’d have a place to stay. We plunged full tilt into the world of executive real estate and I was astonished at the things I learned.
New York isn’t what it used to be. His old stomping ground of Greenwich Village no longer has the crummy walk-ups. Even Dylan Thomas’s old watering hole, the White Horse Tavern seemed to have had a bit of a facelift, and Harlem has the hottest, most sought-after restaurants in town!
We wandered through the midtown neighborhood of Clinton, which to me will always be Hell’s Kitchen no matter how much they pretty it up. As my grandma used to say, you can take a pig, put earrings, shoes and a dress on her and call her Monique, but she’s still a pig.
I was shocked at how gentrified the neighborhood was and I missed the decrepit old streets, though the Bowery is still pretty much Skid Row… and I was amazed that Hell’s Kitchen had become a gay Mecca and was commonly called a gayborhood.
My brother ended up not buying anything but when a murder happened in the heart of the most expensive street in Hell’s Kitchen during our visit, I thought, suppose, what if, and why and an idea for a book began bubbling in my mind. I was thrilled when I remembered it and suggested an idea to my frequent co-author D.J. Manly.
As usual, our thoughts ran on identical, parallel lines. The intriguing thing was that once we’d established our basic premise, we switched our typical POVs for this story. D.J. always gets the cops, I get their wacky love interests. This time, I got the good guy and D.J. got the head case, er, I mean, the fascinating Casey Baddock. It was a totally fun and absorbing task blending my interests in crime, sex, and the mystical realm (in this case, tarot) for this twisty, chilling mystery.
The minute A.J. mentioned this idea to me, a character came to mind. I too often think in the “what if” vein and with that, my character came to mind. I wanted a complex man, someone who’d had a history that would allow the reader to trace the line to the exact place he’d settled into when the story began. As a writer, I’ve always been fascinated by character complexity. Since Casey is a professional Dom, I needed to understand what had led him to this place, without judging him.
The world is filled with imagery and indeed examples of domination and submission, and everything in between. Indeed the creation and shaping of the world as we know it rests on the premise that some groups have dominated over others. The way we think, the values we hold, are they not a result of which groups have held sway over the various societies. The struggle between groups continues today and will continue, moving and changing the world as it goes. The world today would be unrecognizable to our ancestors, and will be foreign to those who inhabit it, three hundred years from now.
Casey feels safe as a Dom, and that power he holds in sexual situation is intricately woven into the fabric of who he is as a man. He has learned to see beneath the surface, to understand the pressures of everyday life, and to understand that some of the strongest sometimes just need to let go.
When sexual power, be it the ability to completely submit or dominate, is combined with madness, it sometimes spells murder. If obsession demands complete possession, what does that mean to someone who is insane, and how do you attain it?
Read the book, and find out. ☺
Don’t forget to post a comment here and/or all five posts this week for a chance to win copies of ALL FIVE Amber PAX™ “Something’s Coming” stories!
The King of Hell’s Kitchen is available now at Amber Quill Press.
Tarot cards and BSDM spell “Murder” in Hells’ Kitchen...
Throughout his career as a New York homicide detective, Nash McCleery has seen his share of curious killings, but the latest murders in Hell’s Kitchen come complete with both torture and tarot cards. His search for the murderer leads him to the upscale apartment of Casey Baddock, a professional Dom-for-hire. Nash soon realizes that the only way to catch the killer may be for him to play the role of a sub in a BSDM dungeon.
Casey Baddock is all about control, but McCleery is making him feel a little off center. Can Casey help Nash find a murderer without surrendering his heart?
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / Mystery / Detective / BDSM /
Ménage (M/M/M) / Group Sex/Voyeurism
Heat Level: 3
Advisory: This book contains some material that may not be suitable for the more sensitive reader. Length: Extended Novella (34k words)
D. J. Manly