In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.
This week marks the publication of Paul D. Marks‘ new novel, The Blues Don’t Care, set in Los Angeles during World War II and focused on a white jazz musician in an all-black swing band—a musician who steps up as detective when one of his band members is falsely accused of murder. Advance praise on the novel is already strong, with novelist Michael SEars noting, “Paul D. Marks finds new gold in 40’s L.A. noir while exploring prejudices in race, culture, and sexual identity. There’s sex, drugs, and jazz and an always surprising hero who navigates the worlds of gambling, music, war profiteers, Jewish mobsters, and a lonely few trying to do the right thing. Marks has an eye for the telling detail, and an ear that captures the music in the dialogue of the times. He is one helluva writer.”
I first “met” Paul when he and I were fellow bloggers at Criminal Minds, and then later at SleuthSayers as well, and it was his blog posts that first made me a fan of his writing: thoughtful, reflective, carefully constructed, regularly digging deep into whatever subject they tackled. Those same qualities are the hallmark of his fine fiction, and in addition to his novels (his White Heat won the Shamus Award), he’s a tremendously talented short story writer as well, with “The Ghosts of Bunker Hill” earning the top spot in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine‘s 2016 Readers’ Poll.
I’m looking forward to Paul’s new novel, and I hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse below at The Blues Don’t Care as well.
Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.Marks-Blues-Dont-Care