Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you all had a wonderful week and got some reading in. One of the best things about starting a book blog has been my introduction to some wonderful authors that simply weren’t on my bookish radar before (I know, I was a very sheltered and limited reader, reading the authors I knew or were listed in the backs of books I’d just read). Several years ago, I had the pleasure of reading one of Jon Land’s Caitlin Strong books and I was hooked. (Seriously, if you haven’t read this series, check out my reviews, grab these books, and count yourself lucky that you’re now in the know.) Needless to say, when I heard that a favorite author, i.e., Jon Land, was taking over another favorite author’s series, I was delighted and intrigued as to how said series might proceed. Today, I am beyond happy to welcome acclaimed author Jon Land to the blog and he’ll be discussing taking over the legacy series, Capital Crimes begun by the late Margaret Truman with Murder On The Metro. Please help me welcome Jon Land to the blog. Thank you, Mr. Land, for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by today. I’m honored to turn the blog over to you.
TAKING OVER A LEGACY
My attitude in the book business has long been, “The answer’s yes. What was the question?”
In other words, never turn down an opportunity, because you don’t know how long it will be before you get another, especially when it comes to taking over a legacy series like Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes. Fortune had struck for the second time, in the wake of my similarly taking over the equally legendary Murder, She Wrote series.
I’d jumped at that opportunity too, then landed awkwardly—by which I mean the fit wasn’t right. In endeavoring to make the series my own, I diverted from the cozy formula and made Murder, She Wrote into what the television series was and the books should have been. By time I really found my voice, Berkley had decided “to go in another direction” with a different writer. Truth be told, I think I placed more value and ambition in the series than anyone else at the company who mostly seemed to be going through the motions. You know: Been there, done that, doing it again. Good people for the most part, but there are a couple who would be best advised to move to the other side of the street if they see me coming.
The Capital Crimes series was a much more positive experience right from the start. First off, these books fell squarely within my comfort zone, mystery thrillers in others words. Second, Capital Crimes is published by Forge, my own publisher who’s responsible for bringing my Caitlin Strong books to life. I knew it was the right fit, and this time my ambition to bring a legacy series to the next level was greeted with smiles instead of shrugs.
The first thing I wanted to do was bring the series back to its roots from a branding standpoint. The first 25 or so books that carried only Margaret Truman’s name on the cover all were branded around titles that began with Murder followed by a location in Washington, the first of which was Murder In The White House. But the last half dozen titles had deviated from that.
Alas, not anymore.
Since my initial offering dealt in one of the plotlines with the murder of the vice president, my original title was Murder At The Admiral’s House after the name once given to the vice president’s residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory. Except nobody knew that. Good thing the book happened to open with a failed terrorist attack on the Washington Metro. Hence the title, Murder On The Metro. Oh man, how much better is that?
Forge came up with the brilliant cover you’re probably looking at now. I had found my footing almost from page one on this one, the book written in the style I’d favored since starting down this road as a student at Brown University in the late 70’s: multiple converging plotlines, multiple points of view, conflict-riddled characters who evolve, and the opportunity to go big, I mean really BIG, as far as the story goes.
My editor Bob Gleason, who’s the best in the business, had been instrumental in gaining the freedom of Sister Megan Rice, an eighty-five-year-old nun who’d been sentenced to a stretch in federal prison for trespassing on federal property—specifically the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Why not, Bob and my brilliant publisher Tom Doherty suggested, center my first Capital Crimes book around Sister Megan’s real-life exploits? That conversation took place over dinner at the fabulous Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal, Murder On The Metro born not far from the raw bar and lobster tank.
I inherited international private investigator Robert Brixton from my predecessor, Don Bain, but felt right from the start that I could do more with him. Don had the wisdom a few books back to have Brixton lose his oldest daughter to a terrorist bombing in a restaurant where they were lunching. Sensing something’s awry, Brixton tells her they have to leave and starts from the table. He’s outside before he realizes his daughter didn’t follow him and then BOOM!
I picked up Brixton’s character from there, five years after the bombing. He’s not the man he used to be by a longshot, plagued by guilt and grief. Having him thwart that attempted terrorist bombing on the Metro starts him down the road to redemption, to becoming the man he was before his daughter’s death and more. I had nailed the emotional core of my story, that thing that makes you care about the hero who’s driving the action.
I knew I needed another hero, a Secret Service agent similarly guilt-ridden after the vice president dies on her watch. But Agent Kendra Rendine suspects the VP was murdered and needs Brixton’s help to prove it. I thought I had my structure then and there, but something was still missing, and that’s where retired Israeli commando Lia Ganz (aka, the Lioness of Judah) enters the scene in a third plotline.
You know, I think Murder On The Metro just might the first thriller whose hero and heroine, Brixton and Ganz, are both grandparents. And that’s kind of organic to the story because so many of the readers who grew up on this series are now grandparents themselves. I knew I had something, that the book was clicking, right from the get-go, because I was enjoying the hell out of writing it. I get asked so often what’s the most important advice I give younger or beginning writers and I used to say, “Tell a great story.” Now I say “Have fun telling a great story.” Because if you’re having fun writing the book, the reader is going to have fun reading it. Simple as that, in my mind anyway.
Murder On The Metro‘s been out a while now and the response (Knock on wood!!!) has been pretty terrific. After being skewered by a hefty number of Murder, She Wrote fans initially, I can’t tell you how great that feels. Taking over a legacy like Capital Crimes is like raising somebody else’s kid after they reach their teenage years: You know what you want the kid to turn into, but you’re not exactly sure of everything that brought him or her to this point.
But raising that kid means loving and taking ownership of where he or she goes from here. That’s exactly the way I feel about the Capital Crimes series. Whatever happened before, it’s mine now, starting with Murder On The Metro. And as much as I love that book, I think my next one, Murder At The CDC, might even be better.
What’s Murder At The CDC about, you ask? Well, in a nutshell— Oops, sorry. I’ve hit my word limit. Guess you’ll have to wait until the same time next year to hear the rest! Happy reading until then!
Murder On The Metro
by Jon Land
March 1-31, 2021 Tour
Israel: A drone-based terrorist attack kills dozens on a sun-splashed beach in Caesarea.
Washington: America awakens to the shattering news that Vice President Stephanie Davenport has died of an apparent heart attack.
That same morning, a chance encounter on the Washington Metro results in international private investigator Robert Brixton thwarting an attempted terrorist bombing. Brixton has no reason to suspect that the three incidents have anything in common, until he’s contacted by Kendra Rendine, the Secret Service agent who headed up the vice president’s security detail. Rendine is convinced the vice president was murdered and needs Brixton’s investigative expertise to find out why.
In Israel, meanwhile, legendary anti-terrorist fighter Lia Ganz launches her own crusade against the perpetrators of that attack which nearly claimed the lives of her and granddaughter. Ganz’s trail will ultimately take her to Washington where she joins forces with Brixton to uncover an impossible link between the deadly attack on Caesarea and the attempted Metro bombing, as well as the death of the vice president.
The connection lies in the highest corridors of power in Washington where a deadly plot with unimaginable consequences has been hatched. With the clock ticking toward doomsday, Brixton and Ganz race against time to save millions of American lives who will otherwise become collateral damage to a conspiracy destined to change the United States forever.
“Jon Land is one of the best thriller writers in the business, and the Capital Crimes series is in superb and skilled hands with him. Nobody does pacing better than Land, and Murder On The Metro starts with a bang and keeps on going at breakneck speed. If you haven’t read this excellent series, start with Land’s Murder On The Metro.” —Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: February 16th 2021
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 1250238870 (ISBN13: 9781250238870)
Series: A Capital Crimes Novel, #31
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads
JON LAND is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty books, including eleven in the critically acclaimed Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong series, the most recent of which, Strong from the Heart, won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Best Thriller and the 2020 American Book Fest Award for Best Mystery/Suspense Novel. Additionally, he has teamed up with Heather Graham for a science fiction series that began with The Rising (winner of the 2017 International Book Award for best Sci-fi Novel) and continues with Blood Moon. He has also written six books in the Murder, She Wrote series of mysteries and has more recently taken over Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series, beginning with Murder On The Metro in February of 2021. A graduate of Brown University, he received the 2019 Rhode Island Authors Legacy Award for his lifetime of literary achievements. Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jon Land. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2021 and runs through April 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.