Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Date of Publication: October 2012
Former baseball player and newly-minted private investigator, Sam Slater is hired to find out why a rich, politically-well connected San Francisco man, Arthur Bolender, suddenly ended his life by plunging off of the Golden Gate Bridge. All those who know Arthur say unequivocally that he did not commit suicide. However, Bolender's body was found floating in San Francisco Bay and his car was abandoned in the traffic lane of the bridge.
Deadly Plunge is the sequel to Last of the Seals which I reviewed back in July 2012. I'm always a little wary of the second in a series, especially if I really enjoyed the first one. I'm afraid of being disappointed. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book as much as the first. The book was well written and full of adventure. The story sucks you in and doesn't let go. This time around, Sam and his girlfriend Amelia get sucked into a mystery that includes kidnapping, murder and international espionage. Along with the mystery, we get to see more of Amelia and Sam's relationship. Their love is growing stronger and big changes are coming.
One of the great things about this book is that it really takes you back to a completely different way of living. Television shows weren't on 24/7. Women were grieving because Elvis was drafted and stewardesses were victims of discrimination. My 2013 brain can't wrap itself around the fact that women couldn't marry or be engaged and had to have certain looks and measurements in order to work for the airline. They would never get away with that nowadays. Sprinkled throughout the book, the author has included photos of real life places and historical events that have been included in the story. That was a really nice addition and really enhanced the story.
Sam and Amelia's adventures continues in the next book, San Francisco Secrets, which comes out Spring 2013. I can't wait!
Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?
Greg: I really can't remember when I didn't like writing. I wrote books--nothing publishable--just enjoyed making books with pictures and writing as a little kid. I also found a small canvas bag which had crayon writing on it. I wrote a small newspaper as a child and rolled them up and put them in the bag. I would then attach the canvas bag to my handle bars and delivery my "newspapers" to neighbors and relatives. Later in life, I got to work for a real newspaper and write real books, so I guess I'm pretty lucky. I was on my high school newspaper and supported myself in high school and college as a stringer for the local newspaper. I wrote sports stories, covered some news events and even wrote a few movie reviews. I had a career in the newspaper business and also in corporate finance. So to answer the question, I guess I've always wanted to write. If you had asked me as a little kid what I wanted to do when I grew up I would have probably said, "be a writer."
Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?
Greg: My earlier books were loosely based on people on knew and relationships I knew about. I wrote three books about people who lost a great deal and then were healed by the power of love. One of the great dramas of the human experience is trying to find the right person to love who will make you happy.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and remember some things about the world my parents lived in. That world was the 1950s in the San Francisco area--the world where my fictional characters Sam Slater and Amelia Ryan inhabit. The 1950s is a very interesting time and in particular 1957 and 1958 were times of real change in San Francisco. I thought it was a great back drop for my story. I think the story of Amelia Ryan as a stewardess, trying to navigate all of the roadblocks which were placed in front of women in the 1950s is also an interesting aspect of life in that time and place.
The entire concept for the mystery series came to me as I returned to San Francisco and spent some time walking around the city. It's magical. There are so many interesting venues for the stories.
Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?
Greg: I am currently working on the third book in the Sam Slater mystery series. It will be called "San Francisco Secrets" and is a continuation of the story which began in "Last of the Seals" and "Deadly Plunge." I'm excited about it. It is about a blackmail plot against a prominent San Francisco doctor. There is a recurring theme through--that being that everyone has secrets. Some of course are more damaging than others. It is now 1958 and things are changing for Sam Slater and Amelia Ryan as well.
Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
Greg: It is extremely difficult to top Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird." What a great character and I really admire his quiet heroism. I think "To Kill A Mockingbird" is extraordinary because it is one of my favorite novels and also one of my favorite movies. I greatly admire Harper Lee who never got the credit she deserved as a woman. She also helped Truman Capote considerably as in wrote "In Cold Blood."
Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
Greg: I live by the Puget Sound near Seattle and I'm from Northern California. Consequently, I love seals. They always look like they are having fun. I think being a seal living in Puget Sound or living in Monterey Bay in California wouldn't be a bad way to go.