Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Thought you might like to see a review I just finished for a debut crime author. Let me know what you think of the review and/or the book!
Title: A Dirty Business
Author: Joe Humphrey
Publisher: Dakarna Publishing
Publisher's Address: DaKarna Publishing, P.O. Box 8242, JAF Station, New York, NY 10116
Release Date: January 16, 2007
Publisher phone number and/or website address: http://www.dakarna.com/
A Dirty Business
By Joe Humphrey
Review by Aaron Paul Lazar
Author of the LeGarde Mystery Series
A Dirty Business, the new debut crime novel by Joe Humphrey, goes down smooth and easy, like a slug of Chivas Regal on the rocks.
Kevin Bailey, a young black man recently back from a self-imposed hermitage in the Blue Ridge Mountains, returns home to the color and vibrancy of New York City, broke, with no place to live, and badly in need of a job. Armed with a degree in criminal justice and a kindly referral from a friend in Harlem, Bailey lands a job at Frank Givens’ detective agency.
His new boss, swamped with work, throws Bailey a test case that should be cut and dry: a simple assignment from a NYC socialite to dig up dirt on her son’s gold-digging prospective fiancée. The client, a pompous blue-haired matron named Selena Eldritch, reluctantly confides in Bailey, whose shabby clothes initially weaken her confidence. Resolved to improve his image and show this woman and his boss that he has what it takes, Bailey digs into the case with gusto.
With a photo of Edward Eldritch and his girlfriend Donna Greenwood in hand, Bailey tails Eldritch on a wild pursuit hours away from Manhattan. After winding through villages and chasing the Hudson north, they arrive in the historic village of Cold Spring, where Eldritch meets a brunette and ducks into a local tavern. Bailey, bold as brass, follows them inside and learns the woman’s name is Donna Greenwood.
Problem is, she doesn’t match the blond in the photo. If the gold-digger isn’t Donna Greenwood, who is she?
What appears to be a straightforward case begins to unravel into a tangled web of intrigue and bizarre obsessions. When Bailey finally identifies the blond as Norma Vidon, he discovers she’s been missing for two years and the local police have apparently given up on the investigation. Bailey’s sense of injustice kicks in, and like a terrier on a bone, he gnaws at it with diligence and purpose, unearthing dead bodies and intriguing red herrings that keep the reader guessing until the end.
Mr. Humphrey writes with a strong sense of place and a consistent voice, with none of the pretentious tools often found in new writers. His style is simple and engaging, and the story moves, whether Bailey is in a fistfight in a parking lot or staking out a suspect and calmly observing the detailed architecture of a building. Following is a sample of Mr. Humphrey’s style.
“I missed out on the B&B’s inclusive breakfast and was sore about it all morning, but nothing was more aggravated than my stomach, which, at the moment, sounded like a humpback whale splashing around in a puddle.”
Mr. Humphrey offers a touch of romance in the appearance of Amelia Helton, a delightful waitress with smooth caramel-colored skin and a ready smile who warms to Bailey and will hopefully play a larger part in the mystery series.
This reader will anticipate the second book in the series, and hopes that Mr. Humphrey is writing fast.
Aaron Paul Lazar is an engineer by day, but his passion lies in writing. The first book in the LeGarde Mystery series, Double Forté, is an absorbing tale of love, intrigue, and murder; “a feast for the senses that will leave you breathless.” Upstaged, the second book in the series, features a disturbed stage mother, a deviant predator, and a twisted saboteur who lurks backstage, terrorizing the drama club with deadly, psychotic games. “Lush, vibrant, and delicious.” Lazar’s latest book, Tremolo: cry of the loon, a literary coming-of-age mystery, is available through Twilight Times Books.
Lazar has written a second series featuring paranormal mysteries with Sam and Rachel Moore, a retired country doctor and his wife who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Watch for The Green Marble, coming in October, 2007, from Twilight Times Books.
Lazar’s monthly columns are featured in the Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Voice in the Dark newsletter, and The Back Room ezine and his writing advice articles have been published often in Absolute Write. He lives in Upstate NY with his extended family. Visit his websites at http://www.legardemysteries.com/; http://www.mooremysteries.com/, and his blog: http://www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com/.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Yesterday was a perfect winter day. The air was calm, with temperatures in the mid-twenties, and the sun shone so warm and brilliant, it lured me all day. When the chores were finally accomplished, the requisite Saturday jobs attended to, I finally wandered outside to snap a few pictures of our back yard.
Here are my trio of cottonwoods. Tall, majestic, and home for many birds.
These thistles also feed the birds in the summer and provide great interest in the winter. Lovely shapes, so delicate and upward lifting.
Icicles called to me again, this time from the back porch. They glistened so in the late afternoon sun, I couldn't stop snapping photos.
Not so symmetric as the icicles I captured on the paddock fence a few weeks ago, these are still hynotic, as if a crystal world reflects within.
This old chestnut tree is dying - or so I thought. Last year a whole new branch shot out and produced, of all things, chestnuts! I love the gnarled appearance of this section of the dead wood, especially cast against the azure sky.
I followed these footsteps around the yard, captivated by the brillian reflections of the sun on the snow.
...and ended up here, in my garden. Surprised? Not if you know me. ;o) This lonely cornstalk fluttered in the light breeze, and I knelt in about two feet of crusty snow, my jeans soaked, trying to get just the right angle before the light died.
Spring's coming, and I can't wait to get out in the garden again. But I've thoroughly enjoyed this wintry season. What a gift!
Sunday, February 18, 2007
A short story by Aaron Paul Lazar
I headed for my parents’ house on a rainy June evening, anxious for the tastes and aromas of home. Savory beef stew, bubbling on the stove. Spicy lavender, growing by the porch door. I even anticipated the musky smell of wet dog, having missed owning pets while on assignment in Germany.
I’d settled my wife and daughters back into our house after a grueling flight from Stuttgart to Logan. After getting the place back in shape - the larder stocked, the lawn mowed, and the cobwebs whisked clean - my roots called to me. I needed to see my parents and grandmother. It had been far too long.
I parked in the driveway and soaked in the sight of the old cedar-shingled colonial, nestled between towering blue spruces and flanked by an overgrown Bartlett pear. Flashes of my childhood raced across my mind’s eye: my chestnut gelding grazing on the back field; family feasts on the redwood picnic table under the plum tree; devouring my mother’s cooking, and toiling in my father’s sumptuous gardens. I was finally home, where family had patiently waited as the one-year post overseas had stretched to four.
After long embraces and reunion tears, we gathered around the supper table, just as I’d envisioned so many times in the throes of homesickness. Ginny, my father’s beagle, sat at my feet, begging for morsels. I surreptitiously dropped a piece of cornbread under the table, and heard her satisfied snuffling as she sought and devoured the tidbit.
“When do we see Gram?” I asked between spoonfuls of Chicken Paprikash.
My parents exchanged uncomfortable glances. Mom shifted in her ladderback chair.
“We have something to tell you about Grandma,” she began. Her fingers tapped a tango on the table beside her linen napkin, and she tossed my father a nervous half-smile.
My heartbeat quickened and I imagined the worst.
She’s dead. My grandmother’s dead.
“What is it?” I asked. I laid down my spoon and pushed back in my seat. Ginny scooted to the side, then laid her head on my lap, rolling her big brown eyes up to mine. I stroked her soft ears and waited.
My mother nodded to my father, who took over.
“Gram’s in a home now,” he said. “She got sick, son. Alzheimer’s.”
I stared across the table. My jaw dropped. Indignation welled in my chest.
“You put her in a home?” I said. My voice cracked on the last word. “I thought you said you’d never do that? We were going to take care of her. Amy and I would’ve taken her in, if you couldn’t. What happened to the plan?”
I conveniently ignored the fact that I hadn’t been around for the past four years.
My mother began to explain. They’d tried to care for her at home. The dining room had been transformed into a bedroom for Gram, so she could avoid climbing stairs. Her favorite furniture and pictures were moved into the room to create a homey atmosphere, and they’d brought in her Lincoln rocker, favorite quilts, and the display case with her miniature Hummel figurines and collector’s plates. Her two bedroom cape cod had sold for a mere sixty-five thousand dollars.
“She thought I was a stranger, John. She kept calling 911.” My mother’s eyes brimmed with tears; she dabbed at them with her napkin. “We found her outdoors, in the middle of winter, wandering around in her nightgown. She nearly froze to death, looking for the ‘hen house’ She thought she was a young woman again, and kept trying to do her chores. She wouldn’t take her pills, kept thinking I was trying to poison her--”
My mother stopped to collect herself, pressing the napkin to her eyes. Her chest hitched a few times.
“She turned into a different person,” explained my father. “She wasn’t herself, yelling at your mother all the time, really getting hysterical. Of course we didn’t blame her. She was frightened and didn’t recognize anyone.”
He paused for a moment. Ginny’s tail thumped the braided rug. I leaned down to hug her, and she quivered with excitement, lapping my cheek.
“With the new medicine, she’s a little calmer. It was a hard decision, son, but the right one.”
My mother tried to smile, but her face crumpled. She breathed deeply and stood.
“Dad’s going to take you to see her tomorrow, so you can check out the place for yourself. It’s a homey place, has a nice feeling to it. Not too fancy, mind you, just comfortable. And… she’s safe now.”
Numb, I nodded and leaned down to pat Ginny’s smooth flanks. I didn’t want to lose it in front of them.
“Just one more thing. She probably won’t know you. You should be prepared,” my mother said in a voice that trailed off to a whisper.
Not know me?
My grandmother and I had shared an exceptional bond. I rejected the idea immediately.
Impossible. She’ll know me.
The next day, we entered a modest gray clapboard house and climbed a wooden stairway to the second floor. Several elderly patients peeked out of their doorways. Dad greeted most of them by name, stopping to chat with a few along the way.
When we reached Gram’s room, a stranger sat on the edge of the bed. Dressed in a loose, faded housedress, she was fifty pounds lighter than the grandmother I remembered. Her short blond hair, so carefully coifed throughout her life, had transformed into wispy gray locks that lay flat and lifeless, framing her thin face. She wore no jewelry, no lipstick, and no shoes.
I approached slowly and sat beside her on the narrow bed.
“How are you, Gram?” I took her small hand in mine.
Her eyes widened with indecision and she carefully inched away from me. She smiled as if she were entertaining a guest and gently drew her hand from my grasp.
“I’m fine,” she said. Her wary eyes darted to my father.
She looked down at her hands.
Would you like to see pictures of my girls?” I asked.
“All right.” She spoke with forced politeness.
I pulled out a packet of photos and began to reel off the names and ages of my daughters.
“Here’s Meredith in our house in Germany. She just turned ten. You should see her play the piano. She sure loves music. She’s just started on the Chopin Preludes now.”
She seemed to relax a little, and accepted the photo, running her fingers lightly across the glossy surface. A small sigh escaped her lips.
“So sweet,” she said. “She’ll be a heartbreaker.”
Encouraged, I continued through the pack.
“Here we are at the Christmas Market in Stuttgart. There’s my wife, Miriam. And that’s Alice, and there’s little Micki. Alice is seven and Micki just turned five.”
She carefully took the photo, gazing at it.
“They look a lot alike. Such pretty curls. What’s that building in the background?”
Encouraged, I warmed to her question.
“It’s the Stiftkirche spire, right in the middle of the city. There are old castles intermingled with new buildings. This one street, called the Koenigstrasse, bans cars; it’s filled with shops and pedestrians. You’d love the Christmas Market. Glass blown ornaments, outdoor vendors in the old cobblestone square, hot mulled wine served from copper kettles... The present I sent you last year was bought right there—”
“Ben?” she interrupted, looking at my father. Her eyes danced between us as she played with the buttons on her housedress with one frail hand.
“Do I know this handsome young man?”
Dad hesitated as he looked at my crestfallen face, and then patiently answered her.
“Yes, Mother. It’s your grandson, John. He’s my son. Your grandson,” he prodded gently. “He’s been gone for a few years on assignment in Germany.”
She looked up at him and nodded vacantly. I sat up straighter, looking into her confused eyes, pleading.
“Gram? It’s Johnny. Remember? Don’t you remember me?”
My voice caught and I choked out the last few words. She smiled at me and put a trembling hand on my shoulder.
“I’m sure I would’ve been very proud of you,” she said.
I sat still, grateful for her empathy. A leaden sensation played around my heart. My father changed the subject.
“Are you hungry, Mother?” he asked gently. “John and I are taking you out to lunch today.”
She brightened. “Yes I am. I’m tired of the old-people-food they force on me here. They tell me I eat like a bird, but it’s because there’s nothing good to eat. And they won’t give me any beer. Can you imagine that? The Prohibition is over! What kind of a hotel is this, anyway?”
I smiled involuntarily as I recognized traits of my familiar, feisty grandmother. She was still in there, somewhere.
Dad pushed her shoes to the side of the bed and helped her put them on. Her forehead crinkled and she stood unsteadily, looking around the room for something.
“Gram? Can I help?” I asked.
“My pocketbook. I can’t go out without my pocketbook.”
Dad laid his hand on her arm and flashed me a melancholy look.
“It’s okay, Mother. I’m buying today. No need for your purse.”
He helped her into a worn, blue cardigan and we shuffled down the hall. When we passed the bedroom of an elderly man, she leaned over and whispered in my father’s direction.
“You have to do something about that Mr. Timothy, son. He keeps hitting on me. My stars, he must be at least eighty.”
“Okay, Mother. Will do. I’ll have a talk with the old coot.”
Dad smiled at me. Gram would be ninety next April.
We drove to Gram’s favorite restaurant, which specialized in her favorites: golden fried scallops and Narragansett beer. We slid into an empty booth across cracked red vinyl seats, and picked up the sticky menus. Dad and I shared one side, facing Grandma. She held the menu, but didn’t read it. Instead, she looked back and forth between us.
“You know,” she said, “you look like him!”
She nodded toward my father. I smiled.
“I should, Gram. I’m his son.”
“Oh…” she said. She still didn’t get it.
I tried another tact.
“Do you remember camp? On Great Pond?”
I touched on a few of my favorite childhood memories. Her eyes lit up.
“Of course I remember camp. What do you think I am, addlepated?”
She began to reminisce about people I hadn’t known, who had been her guests at the fishing resort before I was born. Although she didn’t remember me, we discovered a common ground. The tall pines. The cool, sparkling lake. The lonely tremolo of the loons.
I took a long pull on my beer. A bead of sweat rolled down the green glass surface and pooled on the Formica. We sat in contented silence, sifting through sweet memories.
She looked at me expectantly, a pink blush spreading over her soft cheeks.
“I remember when you and Po-pa used to bring me a slice of pizza from the café, always late at night. You’d wake me up for it. It was cold, and wrapped in a paper napkin. Best darned pizza I ever had.”
“I’m sorry,” she murmured with downcast eyes. “I don’t remember anything these days.”
“It’s okay. It doesn’t matter.” I patted the back of her cold hand and warmed to the childhood memory.
“You also sang to me. Every night, before I fell to sleep.”
I began to sing quietly.
Bon Soir Mes Amis, Bon Soir.
Bon Soir Mes Amis, Bon Soir.
We had such a good time together,
But now we must say
Before I reached the second stanza, my grandmother’s eyes lit up and she joined me, singing in a wavering soprano. My heart swelled. Her eyes sparkled and her face crinkled with joy. She popped the last scallop in her mouth, and laughed with a tinkling wind-chime sound, reaching across the table to lay her frail hand on mine.
“Oh, my. I love that song. I used to sing it to you when you were a boy.” Warmth filled her eyes.
She knew me.
“Isn’t it nice to be with family?” she asked.
Bon Soir Mes Amis was based on a true story and is dedicated to my grandmother.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Interview with Oscar Stone, family friend of Gus LeGarde, of the Gus LeGarde Mystery series.
Mr. Stone was interviewed by Mary Malone, Genesee Valley news journalist. Transcribed from a video made at his house in Goodland Station.
MARY: Mr. Stone, I hope you don’t mind being interviewed because of your connection with Gus LeGarde. It appears he’s a bit busy with his large family and gardens right now. It’s not that we aren’t interested in you, Mr. Stone, but Professor LeGarde has been featured in quite a few mystery books lately that have been piquing the interest of local readers.
OSCAR: I most certainly object to being interviewed for who I know, not for who I am (smiling). However, while my life as a historian and nature photographer is decidedly fascinating, it isn’t newsworthy. And Gus has been through some hair-raising adventures over the past few years, which do warrant discussion. We are all rather proud of him, and think of him as quite the hero, don’t-you-know?
MARY: I’ll bet. Well, let’s start at the beginning. How did you meet Gus?
OSCAR: Gus LeGarde and I have been friends for the past few decades. When Gus’s parents died within a few years of each other, he went through a serious depression. It was all my wife Millie and I could do to help him get through it. Just after Gus’s mother died, our son, William, was killed in action in Viet Nam. Millie and I were distraught, and Gus and his wife, Elsbeth, kindly drew us into their lives. That’s when we basically “adopted” each other.
MARY: I’m sorry about your son, Mr. Stone. I’m sure my readers would join me in thanking him for his service to our country. Now, let’s talk about Elsbeth. What’s the story there? The author, Lazar, paints quite a picture of her murder.
OSCAR: Ah, Elsbeth. I never knew a more fiery woman. She was beautiful, dark, wild. And, oh, what a pianist. She was about to begin a worldwide tour as a concert pianist when their daughter Freddie was born, and she gave it all up to stay home with the baby. Of course, that was almost thirty years before she was murdered.
MARY: What about the murder?
OSCAR: It’s an exceedingly unpleasant topic. Normally, I wouldn’t discuss such private issues with you. However, since Gus has authorized the series to be published, I suppose it’s acceptable, in this case.
The short version is that Elsbeth contracted cancer - it settled in her temporal lobe. We went years thinking she had a mood disorder, like bipolar. There was even a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She went through a number of neurologists. When the cancer was finally detected, it was too late. And the suicidal depression, caused by a tumor that affected the part of her brain that controls these things, overwhelmed her many a time.
We all thought she’d jumped off the cliffs of the Letchworth Gorge because of it. Later, of course, we discovered that Harold, Gus’s son-in-law, pushed her. He was trying to cover the embezzlement of her inheritance. He found her depression a convenience - especially since she’d tried suicide several times - and it was well documented. I believe Mr. Lazar refers to this in his accounts of Gus’s life throughout the series. It was awful. Just awful. We all thought she’d really jumped, until Harold was later revealed to be a monster. He’s still in jail, of course. Thank God.
MARY: What about Gus’s house? Is it really as large and homey as Lazar paints it?
Oscar (laughing): It is. We gather on Sundays for Gus’s family feast. He’s an amazing chef, with a talent for comfort food with a gourmet twist. He has a flare for it, that’s for certain. One thing Lazar may misrepresent is the cleanliness of their home. Gus hates to do dishes. And the great room is often covered with toys and evidence of his grandchildren’s forays into mischief.
MARY: Who is “we?” Are all the people in Lazar’s books really in Gus’s life?
OSCAR: Oh, yes. All of them, and more. Well, let’s see. Of course Millie and I are always there. There’s Gus’s new wife, Camille, and her daughter, Shelby. She’s going to be quite the vocalist, let me tell you. But I digress. Camille’s mother, Madelaine, is Gus’s secretary. She’s romantically involved with Officer Joe Russell, who’s a wonderful lawman with a very healthy appetite. They live in Camille’s old Cape Cod, just down the road. Gus’s daughter Freddie, now divorced from Harold, lives with Gus and Camille with her three children: Johnny, Marion, and Celeste. They are all cared for by the most capable housekeeper and nanny, Mrs. Pierce, who stayed on after caring for Elsbeth in her final days. Of course, that was five years ago now, although it seems like just yesterday.
MARY: What about the giant?
Oscar (chuckling): Oh my goodness! I forgot about Siegfried. Of course. Our gentle giant. Siegfried was Elsbeth’s twin brother, Gus’s brother-in-law. Dear Siegfried has suffered from great challenges in his life, not the least of which was a childhood boating accident that left him slightly impaired. But he’s a veritable gem. He lives in the carriage house beside Gus’s barn, works at Freddie’s veterinary clinic, and helps out around the property by watching the children and chopping wood. Oh, and he also tends the barn animals, two horses, dogs, chickens. Siegfried has shown amazing courage on more than one occasion, and has saved Gus’s life several times. To be fair, Gus has done the same for him. It’s been rather crazy around here lately. Too many villains invading our peaceful little town.
MARY: How accurate are Lazar’s books? I mean, regarding the actual plots. Does he embellish? Or are they relatively factual?
OSCAR: They’re pretty factual. I have read all of Lazar’s books, including his rough drafts for the unpublished works. He honors me by including me in his “inner circle” of readers and critique partners. Actually, my wife Millie and I do this together, and we do find plenty of typos. He tends to get carried away in the stories, and often forgets important things. Like my camera. He almost called it a Nikon in the first book, and it’s a Leica! I’ve had to correct him on a number of items. But for the most part, he and Gus spend a lot of time together going over the actual events and timelines. Occasionally he waxes a bit poetic, delving into the descriptions of our valley in flowery detail. I would be more to the point, don’t-you-know? But I suppose it works. His readers seem to enjoy the books.
MARY: I’ve read the first two books in the series, Double Forte’ and Upstaged. But you’ve read all.., ten? Eleven? What’s your favorite, so far? And when can we expect to see it in print?
OSCAR: Oh, my. That’s a tough one. I have soft spots in my heart for all of Lazar’s books. I love Firesong, because that has such lovely historical connections with the Underground Railroad. And Counterpoint gives a great account of the ice storm. Then again, Mazurka is a waltz through Europe, rather delightful. Of course, the ones that feature me are probably my favorites, but don’t forget, two of these eleven books introduce another set of characters. Sam and Rachel Moore, who live not far from us, agreed to let Lazar document their recent adventures. Rachel is very brave, a strong woman. She has MS, don’t-you-know?
MARY: You didn’t tell me your favorite book, Mr. Stone.
Oscar (laughing): You must forgive the aging brain of an octogenarian. I tend to ramble. All right then, if you are going to push, I suppose I would choose Tremolo. I love the way Lazar pits the innocence of Gus’s childhood against the evil of the thief and murderer he faced in Maine as a child. And the descriptions of the Maine lake are just invigorating. Quite pristine and makes me imagine the aroma of pines, don’t-you-know? I believe Lazar said that one is scheduled for release August 15th of this year.
Now, speaking of publishing, this young man has had a devil of a time finding a publisher with deep pockets. If you have any connections with powerful NYC publishers, you must certainly put in a good word for him. He’s a good fellow with a large family of his own, you know. He needs a nice advance.
MARY (laughing): I certainly will, Mr. Stone. And I understand how difficult it is to break into the business. I have a few novels of my own, and understand the predicament all too well.
Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Stone. Perhaps we’ll talk again, and next time I’ll ask all about your work as East Groveland historian.
OSCAR: You’re quite welcome, young lady. And I’d be happy to regale you with the tales of long lost precious documents and local grave robbers. But we’ll save that for another time. I need to let Tinkerbell out to go potty. She’s dancing at the door. Drive safely, now. And watch out for villains.
Monday, February 05, 2007
A Gus LeGarde Mystery by Aaron Paul Lazar
A Book Review written by
Frank Weaver, Jr. - columnist, author
In the opening monologue of Neil Simon's, "The Good Doctor," the lead character turns to the audience and says, "So I ask myself the question, 'What force is it that compels me to write so incessantly, day after day, page after page, story after story?' And the answer is quite simple. I have no choice. I am a writer."
Of course, not every author has the special talent that's needed to be a writer. Those few who do, write. They hone their skills seeking to hold the readers' interest, regardless of what they pen. And it's that special mark that makes them a writer. Like talented musicians or award winning actors, these wordsmiths fine-tune their dexterity in order to move the reader from one place and time to another. And all the while they enable the reader to enjoy a memorable trip traveling down that highway of reading called adventure.
Mark Twain was a writer. So was Ernest Hemingway. In today's world, John Grisham, James Reston, Jr. and Danny Lee Ingram are just a few among others. As a matter of fact, Ingram's book of short stories, called, "Pennies On The Tracks" is an excellent example of good writing.
But not every author is a writer. Fortunately, for readers of good fiction, Aaron Paul Lazar is one, first, and then he's an author. That much is evident. And because Lazar is a writer, first, just like the lead character in the Neil Simon play, he has no choice but to write. His "Seedlings" columns alone are proof.
However, if there is ever any doubt, all one needs to do is pick up a copy of his first book, Double Forté, the opening of his LeGarde mystery series. His numerous tales about retired university music professor, Gus LeGarde, prove the above point. For author Lazar, he hones his writing craft with a love and dedication one only finds with award winning writers.
Set in New York State’s Genesee Valley, LeGarde is the main character who solves one mystery after another in the most of unique ways. With the skillful use of words serving as his paintbrush, author Aaron Paul Lazar creates breathtaking scenery as he guides the reader through the adventure surrounding the Genesee Valley.
In telling his story, Lazar allows us to see and hear the wildlife, to smell the flowers, taste and enjoy the home cooking, to soak scene after scene into our indelible memories, to hear the glorious songs of birds and to feel the fiery passion of humanity as we join him in this adventurous journey. It's a skill found mostly with good writers but sadly missing with so many upcoming authors.
Lazar is fond of saying, "Take pleasure in the little things." And he should be. After all, he practices precisely what he preaches. It shows in his writings, whether they be "Seedlings" or his series of LeGarde mysteries. And in doing so, he teaches us all how to enjoy that pleasure.
Author Aaron Paul Lazar has completed eight LeGarde series mysteries. Besides Double Forté , among others are, Upstaged, Tremolo, Mazurka, Firesong: an unholy grave, Virtuoso, Portamento and Counterpoint. In all nine books have been or are presently in the process of completion. The writing of another book series featuring Sam and Rachel Moore has already commenced, with two books completed. According to the author, there are still more books planned for each series. He hopes "to deliver a couple a year 'til the day I drop." If most readers are like me, then we hope so, too.
It's difficult for me to go as far as to say that these are classical works of literary art or even masterful stories. To do so would be to admit this man has reached his pinnacle of success, literary perfection. And whenever that happens the risk of no more books being written soon becomes a reality. After all, don't all artists stop when they reach the top?
I, for one, do not wish to ever see Aaron Paul Lazar stop writing. And for that selfish reason, while he continuously approaches that summit, I guardedly hold my tongue.
Frank Weaver, Jr. - columnist
"Outtakes Around The Lakes"
only in 'The Suburbanite'
"Into The Hollow"
A Spine Tingling, Hair Curling, Ghost Story