Sneak Peek: No Accounting for Taste

Today we have a sneak peek from the mystery novel by author Newton Love: No Accounting for Taste.

When Nick Schaevers takes the case, his client is already in prison, convicted of murdering a business partner. If ever there was a need for St. Jude-the Patron Saint of desperate situations-to intercede, this was it. To discover who framed his client, Nick must break laws, both statute and spiritual, and wager his life in a dangerous bet before he is through.Β  In the course of the investigation, Nick meets Wendy Crooks, who may be the soul-mate he had almost given up on meeting. The psychological strain of his life and work circumstances crossed with a new woman causes him to grow but develop new neurosis, too.

No Accounting for Taste is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon UK.

And now, an excerpt from No Accounting for Taste

I misjudged the height of fence, and ground my groin going over. Sprinting down the dark alley, I prayed that my ankles wouldn’t give out in an unseen pothole.

My original plan was to outrun them, but I saw something that changed my mind. I jumped behind one of two big dumpsters. I put my feet in the left loading hole that trash trucks use to lift the bin. I hoped I wouldn’t be the top layer of tomorrow’s refuse.

Hanging on the back of the grimy bin, I hyperventilated in the stench of restaurant remnants. Pumped full of stinky oxygen, I switched to slow, deep breathing. I craved air, but less than I craved life.

The sound of rapid footfalls approaching was barely audible over the beat coming from the salsa club next door. My pursuers vaulted the fence, but only one continued down the alley.

Fearing what I expected was next, I released my air and held my lungs empty.

The dumpster next to me crashed against the brick backside of Llewelyn’s Pub. I begged God to save my miserable ass and then clenched my jaw.

It felt as if a freight train hit my big steel can. It and I flew into the wall. I fought the urge to gasp at the painful impact with the bricks. Man, that brute could kick a can. If I made a sound, I knew he would kick mine, but good.

Fortunately the lid of the right half of the dumpster swung, smacking the bricks with a loud metallic sound.

It must have made enough noise to cover me clinging to the backside of the grimy can and he bought it. Relief washed over me as the sound of rapid footfalls faded away.

Sore, tired, and gasping for breath, I extracted myself from my narrow hiding place. When I got to the fence, I looked over my shoulder at the dumpster. A shiver ran down my spine. It was one of the scenes that Frank’s ghost had shown me in the dream.

In spite of the pain, I attempted to walk casually. I went back to the front of Llewelyn’s, away from my pursuers. Blending into the evening foot traffic of the Central West End, I made it to my Celica, slipped in and started the car.

As I drove away from my personal danger in the safe and upscale residential neighborhood with nice restaurants, I took inventory of my health. I had several sore ribs, a wrecked shoulder, and a cut right palm. I grabbed a tee-shirt from the back seat, and wrapped it around my hand.

I was lucky; I’d avoided death, dismemberment, or good old-fashioned beating from my pursuers. I’m not sure how many of those they had planned. I was glad that I didn’t find out.

I joined the other commuters returning home from enough excitement for one night. Most of them didn’t have a bleeding hand wrapped in an old tee-shirt.

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27 thoughts on “Sneak Peek: No Accounting for Taste”

  1. Why are the Nick Schaevers Mysteries set in St. Louis?
    Good question!
    I was living there when I got the idea for a plot that launched the series. Setting it in St. Louis made an opportunity for another American Big City to have a mystery literature for their home town.
    Setting it in St. Louis required the MC to be either Catholic or Protestant, since religion is still big there. I realized that the tension between a hard-boiled detective lifestyle and a Christian walk would make for an interesting character dynamic.

  2. I needed more than St Louis, so I had the murder take place in Las Vegas. This required putting Nick through the investigation in Las Vegas and a visit to the prison in Ely, NV. That gave opportunities for Nick to grow as a character, and for him to confront “the opposition.”

  3. Now that’s a tight bit of action – not my strong suit at all. I’m more a feelings and reactions writer. Did you do any research for this scene, like learning what that kind of impact does to a person?

    1. Actually, the Nick Schaevers Mysteries are all character driven, propelled by feelings and reactions.

      The mystery serves as a framework for Nick to live through. The 4 novel story arch is really (1) Nick meets Wendy, (2) Nick and Wendy fall deeper into love, which pushes changes and requires Nick to make changes to his life, (3) Nick makes the decision to hang up his guns and become a husband (if Wendy will have him) and (4) Nick makes adjustments to his new life and eliminates clinging problems from his past.

      Just because a novel has a hard-boiled story through line does not mean that it is all that way. The whole point of writing the NSMs was to take an adult man in arrested development and move him through the life changes necessary to make him ready to embrace a life with a real woman.

    2. Depending on which “impact” you refer to, physical, emotional, or psychological, yes, I did research for all of them.

      Please don’t hold your nose at the perception of hardcore violence. That is just a page from a 290 page novel that is more of a romance than a police procedural.

      Try it. You may like it, and read the whole series.

  4. After returning to St Louis, things get deep quick. Among other things, Nick is almost murdered, but of course he escapes, or there would have been no need to finish the novel or the series story arc. Back in St Louis, Nick figures out who the local hood is that engineered the frame and hung it on Nick’s client’s neck.

    Nick confronts the “bad guy” who responds: “You know that, and I know that, but you can’t prove any of it.” That switches the mystery into a thriller. It’s Nick versus the bad guy’s mob and each team wants to write the ending.

        1. There’s no need to rush, Newt. That’s why this is better than a live-chat, this post is forever, and comments stay open for a month. πŸ™‚

  5. Most men don’t read Romance novels. They don’t read self-help much, either. I wanted a series of novels that would encourage men to consider growing up and reaching their potential, as complete / whole men, capable of holding up their end of a relationship.

    So, how could I get men to read the series? Write a hard-boiled detective series with danger, blood and guts. That would give them something to read while I work the sub-plots and work on them to open up to the possibilities for self-growth.

    Don’t worry, my wife, Kat Brooks, and many women like my Nick Schaevers series. They are essentially romance novels written from the perspective of a confused male persona who is hoping to trade his less than fulfilling life for a real one that does satisfy on all counts.

    1. I did like the book. And I don’t like romances. It was a lot more than that. And for some reason, I read your comment as I am your wife. I don’t want Nance to come kick my butt. πŸ™‚

      1. Ooops! That should have been, my wife, Nance, and others, like Kat Brooks…”

        I was rushing to complete a reply so I wouldn’t lose my audience, and I wrote a major faux passe. Thank you, Kat, for catching it!

  6. Love the concept of the hard-boiled man having a soft spot; that’s what makes them real. Maybe “romance” would be off-putting to some, but at least “having a relationship” might do. Looks great!

    1. Thank you for your thoughts. I’ve lived long enough to see many stereotypes discarded on the trash heap of history. Very few men are one-dimensional thugs. We all have hopes and dreams, and even appreciate the artistic side of life, especially food presentation.

      You are right. Men need love and support. I don’t listen to Dr. Laura, but I caught a piece of her radio show and stopped to listen. Her caller asked about a list of things that women need to know about men to have a successful relationship. Dr Laura said “There is only one thing you need to know: if you convince a good man that he is your knight in shining armor, and that you are devoted to him, he will turn the world upside-down for you.”

      She is right, at least from my perspective. All men need, as my wife, Nance, calls it, “tender loving cares.” we may need varying amounts, but all men need to be special to someone we know well.

      So, men won’t read Romance, but we do like a story that includes emotional support and affection between the MC and their significant other. That is what I’m writing to, and I hope to hook as many men as possible.

      William Goldman, writing The Princess Bride had the grandson ask if the book was going to get “all mushy.” Later, when Wesley and Buttercup were getting together after all of the adventure, the grandpa character said, “but this is mushy stuff that you don’t want to hear.”
      “No, Grandpa, it’s okay. I can take some mushy stuff.”

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