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Tag: hy conrad

Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad

Summary: Adrian Monk is an eccentric genius, a renowned private homicide consultant, most famous, of course, for his ridiculous compulsions and phobias. Natalie Teeger, formerly just his assistant, is now an ex-op, studying for her PI license, the
last step to becoming Monk’s full partner.
Before taking the plunge, Natalie sneaks off to Half Moon
Bay for a retreat run by Miranda Bigley, charismatic leader of the “Best
Possible Me” self-help program, whose philosophy has helped Natalie deal with
her recent life changes.  Her plans for a
relaxing weekend are disrupted when Monk tracks her down, determined to rescue
her from the “cult.”  Their argument is
cut short when Miranda, in full view of everyone, calmly walks to the edge of a
cliff and jumps off.
Even though Miranda’s death looks like suicide, Natalie is
sure it is murder.  But Monk brushes her
off to help the SFPD solve the murder of a clown, despite his fear of
clowns (number ninety-nine on his list of one hundred phobias) Natalie and Monk begin their separate investigations and are
quickly caught up in situations neither one of them can handle.  If they want to solve both crimes – and
survive – they first need to learn how to be full partners.  Can Monk handle the change?
My thoughts: This book made me so happy. I suggest you read it, whether you’re typically fond of mysteries or not. I wish I could watch this book. I haven’t read the other books based on Monk (nor any other TV series, for that matter) but if they’re all this good, I’ve sure missed out on a lot. Monk was one of the few detective series on TV, where the detectives actually did detective work (and were damn good at it) with no help from ridiculously high-techie gadgets. There were neat puzzles, with clues strewn around, lovably comical characters and plots that weren’t so convoluted as to make any guesswork impossible. 
Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad is quite the same as the TV series it’s based on. It’s hilarious, engaging and just the perfect cozy mystery – except it’s not just one mystery, it’s three; the suicide, the dead clown and some mysterious anonymous packages that Monk keeps getting in the mail. For those of us who know and love (sometimes) Monk, just the idea of him solving a clown mystery ought to be enough to grab the book. But what I liked the most is that even those who’ve never heard of Monk will enjoy this! The author gives plenty of background info.
Without revealing any details, all I can say is that the book is honest in its portrayal of both the good guys and the bad guys, whose actions and motives are neither over emotionalized nor justified. The book Monk is a little different from the TV Monk, in that he is a little less obsessive, although his list of phobias is still increasing. Captain Stottlemeyer is pretty much the same as he was before, which is not surprising at all. Randy Disher is absent, of course, and there’s a new lieutenant, Amy Devlin. Natalie, our narrator, is an altogether new person in the book, but she makes a good narrator; with funny comments and enough suspense to frustrate you, along with clues to keep you glued to the book, guessing until, of course, Monk declares, “Here’s what happened.” I stayed up late into the night reading, and finished it at one go. I was sorry the book ended, when it did and I can’t wait to read the sequel!
You can buy Mr. Monk Helps Himself on Amazon and visit the author’s website here.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. For more reviews of the book, visit the Virtual Author Book Tours page.

An Interview with author Hy Conrad of Rally ‘Round the Corpse



About the author: Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk.  He worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer, and received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of America for “Best TV Episode.” In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old.  His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.
Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages.  Hy’s first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West in May 2012.  He recently authored a humor book called Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know. Visit the author’s website right here

You can read my review of Rally ‘Round the Corpse. It’s a pretty great book, you can buy it here.
And, I hope you read and enjoy this interview as much as I did!
Thank you, Hy, for this great interview.


1. What inspired you to write Rally ‘Round the Corpse? What led you to the idea of the Abel
Adventures Mystery series? (Also, how long can we expect the series to be?)
Hy: A lot of my early mysteries were created for platforms and
electronic devices that no longer exist, including Clue VCR, a popular game
back in the mid-80s.
When the Internet came around, no one knew what kind of
content would be successful.  I was asked
by Prodigy (an early version of AOL) to write a mystery serial with a different
chapter every day and a different mystery every month.  The result was “Abel Adventures”, with Tom
Abel, a character similar to Amy Abel, who led adventure tours around the world.  This idea always stayed with me, even though
the original stories have been lost to time – and a few computer crashes.
I’m on my way to finishing book two in the series, “If I Die Before the Wake”.  I would love to continue the
concept.  But of course it all depends on
the popularity of the first two.
2. Which are your most memorable writing experiences? On the
other hand, what is your worst experience as a writer?
Hy: One of my favorite experiences, writing or not, was my time
spent on “Monk”.  To be with great, funny writers every day and
churning out a hit TV show…  There’s
nothing better.
My least favorite was when a network, which shall remain
nameless, hired me to turn one of their teenage sitcoms into a TV movie.  Their style was to ignore all my sincere requests
for feedback and then suddenly micromanage. 
“No, that’s not what we wanted. 
What made you think that?”  I
quit, the only time I quit a job, and went to work for “White Collar” instead.
Later I heard from the writer who took my place.  He was put through hell for over a year
before it finally got filmed.
3. Do you have any advice for budding writers, any “five things
to remember” when writing a mystery? What is the biggest mistake, according to
you, that a mystery writer could make?
Hy: Okay.  Five quick
rules.
  1. Pay attention to
    logic.  Mystery fans want it to all
    make sense.
  2. Action isn’t as important
    in a book as it is in a movie, e.g. don’t spend ten pages describing a
    fight or a car chase.
  3. Don’t be afraid of atmosphere.  There’s a reason why Swedish mysteries
    are popular.
  4. Give your characters
    different voices.  They shouldn’t
    all talk like you.
  5. As Elmore Leonard said,
    “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”  How did Cary Grant get off Mount
    Rushmore at the end of “North by Northwest”?  We don’t know and we don’t care.
The biggest mistake of new writers is to create a detailed
outline before starting.  If your story
has good bones to begin with, it will tell you where to go next.
4. Having written mysteries for a long time, how do you think the
genre has evolved over the years?
Hy: I think the best mysteries are a lot better than they used
to be, with great characters and great atmosphere.  The detectives are darker and the crimes more
imaginative and gruesome.  With the
exception of cozies, it takes itself much more seriously than it used to.
On the other hand, the worst mysteries are a lot worse.  With the advent of self-publishing and e-publishing,
anyone with a murderous thought has a book out there, competing for the same
eyeballs and wallets.  Remember, a free
e-book is not free.  You pay for it with
wasted hours and annoyance.

__

Check out the blog tour page for more reviews and interviews.

Rally ‘Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad


I received this book in exchange for an honest review. You can view the Rally ‘Round the Corpse blog tour schedule right here.

Summary: In the series debut, “Rally ‘Round the Corpse,” we meet Amy Abel, two years after the death of her fiancé.
Amy needs a fresh start.  And what better way for a shy, risk-averse woman to start over than to sink her savings into a travel agency specializing in adventure.  Her first project?  A mystery road rally through the European countryside.
At the starting line in Monte Carlo, Amy finds herself attracted to Marcus Alvarez, the most mysterious of her two dozen game-loving clients.  But the rally gets off to a rocky start when an eccentric writer, the only person who knows the game’s solution, is himself murdered back in New York.
Weird accidents begin happening along the route and Amy discovers that this fictional mystery was based on a real, unsolved case, one that Marcus knows too much about.  Now she has no choice but to join forces with Fanny, her domineering mother, before the killer strikes again.
My thoughts: The idea of the mystery road rally is as charming as it sounds. Well, until all the murdering, of course. But that’s what made me love this book so much. The characters were interesting and the dialogue had me chuckling every two seconds. You hear mysteries described as thrilling, intense, gruesome. Even words like blood curdling are thrown in. But I’ve never enjoyed reading a suspense novel so much before. This book was pure fun, and that is a word I would rarely pair with the word mystery.
Not to mention, the very mystery is great, the plot is brilliantly crafted. It may be because I don’t read mysteries very often, but I doubt that was the reason I just couldn’t guess what was coming, however hard I tried. The plot twists and red herrings just keep coming. I was on the edge of my seat till the very end, which, by the way, did NOT disappoint. Very few writers could reveal the suspense the way the author has: surprising you so utterly, while still managing to be convincing.
A classic mystery fan is sure to love this book. But I do think that people who don’t usually read / enjoy reading mysteries should give this one a try – it might just change your opinion of the genre. It is a quick, engaging read, and I can’t think of a reason not to read it – grab your copies right here, while I wait for the next book in the series!

About the author: Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the
original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk.  He
worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive
Producer, and received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of
America for “Best TV Episode.” In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer
and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring
Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old.  His latest TV work was as writer and
Consulting Producer for White Collar.

Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten
books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen
languages.  Hy’s first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home
Exchange
, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West in May
2012.  He recently authored a humor book called Things
Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know. 
Visit the author’s website right here