Look to your right, Dear Reader. Notice anything? That’s right, there’s a new book page. My third Alafair Tucker book, The Drop Edge of Yonder, just came back from the printer in the middle of last week, and is now available for purchase from either Poisoned Pen Press or Poisoned Pen Bookstore. The book is due for official release in October, but the press sent it to the printer early so that it would be available at Bouchercon at the end of this month.
Bouchercon is a very big mystery writers/readers conference that is held every year in the fall, always in a different city. This year it will be in Ancorage, Alaska! Seventeen Poisoned Pen Press authors have signed up to attend, including yours truly, because my press, Poisoned Pen, will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year, and is throwing a big anniversary party at Bouchercon for the event.
Bouchercon will be the first publicity event for Drop Edge. The official launch will be at Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, on Oct. 8 (see the events page for all the upcoming events). They’ve paired me with Richard Benke, from New Mexico, and with Nancy E. Turner, of These Is My Words fame, for a special “Southwest Evening”. It should be very interesting and a lot of fun, and I hope that everyone who lives in the vicinity will drop by that evening to help me give the new book a good send off into the world. (And I wouldn’t discourage anyone who wants to fly in from New York or Istanbul, either.)
I have some other events lined up that I’m very pleased about, which I’ll expound upon in more detail later, but I do want to tell you a little about the new book and encourage you to check out the “About This Book” page and the “Reviews” page under the cover picture to the right. The Drop Edge of Yonder is a book that was thirty years in the making, more or less. There are at least two pivotal scenes in the book that owe their existance to three things that I read that have stayed with me all that time. The first is from a newspaper article I read when I lived in Lubbock, Texas, back in the ’70’s. Two women, an elderly mother and her grown daughter, were out shopping together, walking down the street, minding their own business, when a crazy person ran up and attacked the daughter out of the blue. The old mother jumped on the crazy man’s back and pummeled him and bit on him and basically beat the heck out of him. Somewhere around the same time, I read an interview with an old British soldier who had fought the Massoud in Palestine after WWII. He described a fighter who came at him tooth and claw and absolutely refused to be killed, even after he shot him and stabbed him and beat him with the butt of his rifle. He said the fighter finally sunk his teeth in the soldier’s foot and the soldier practically had to decapitate him to make him let go. The soldier said it was the scariest thing that had ever happened to him in his life. I took both these images and put them together to create one of the climatic scenes of the book.
The second scene is the opening scene of the book, and it isn’t quite as old an image in my head as the other two. Seven or eight years ago, I did a family geneology for my sibs for Christmas, which as you regular Dear Readers may know, is one of the things that inspired me to write this series. One of the things I learned of was a great-great grandfather of mine and three of his companions who were returning from the Civil War Battle of Pea Ridge when they stopped to rob a bee hive in a tree, only a few miles from home. While they were smoking the hive, they were ambushed by bushwhackers and killed. They were found by their families few hours later, but lay dead in the field over night, guarded from wild animals by their wives, until morning, when they were buried where they fell.
The Drop Edge of Yonder centers around the death of Uncle Bill McBride, whom some of you might remember from Hornswoggled as the mischievous instigator of the hard-boiled egg incident. Alafair’s daughter Mary is present when Uncle Bill is killed robbing a bee hive, and maybe she has an idea who did it. But she was grazed by a bullet, and can’t remember. All she knows is it may have had something to do with the Fourth of July.
The problem is, the bushwhacker is still around, and trying to get rid of anyone who may have seen him.
The character of Mary is loosely based on my father’s Aunt Mary, who was one of the jolliest people ever born. She died when I was eight, and I remember her rather well. She and her husband had a farm that adjoined her parents’, and we visited her quite often. Mary is the aunt who boiled chicken feet for us little kids to gnaw on. In a few days, I’ll tell as much as I can about the fact and fiction of Mary and the Drop Edge of Yonder on the “Fact or Fiction” page of this web site, without giving too much away, of course.
Chris, the webmaster/bro, tells me that the web site will be undergoing a makeover before too long, so keep an eye out for some changes.
And if you’re in the mood to see what happens next with Alafair’s family, tell the folks at your local book store or library that Drop Edge is actually available right now.