Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Maggie Kavanagh for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Double Indemnity
Author: Maggie Kavanagh
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Gay, M/M Romance, Mystery
Sam Flynn dreamed of being a journalist until a car accident killed his parents and put his brother into a long-term coma. Now Sam spends his days as a landscaper toiling in the New England sun and his nights drunk in bed with the closest warm body. In his limited spare time, he writes about Stonebridge’s local crime and politics on his blog “Under the Bridge.”
Then Sam’s favorite client is found dead in her home—shortly after telling him someone has betrayed her trust. Sam can’t believe her grief-stricken husband Nathan would be a suspect, but the investigation hones in on him. Sam has always admired handsome Nathan from afar, but now he puts his libidinous feelings aside to help clear his name. However, the closer he gets to Nathan, the more he’s told to keep away from him and the investigation—by the fatherly police chief, by an officer on the case who’s hated him since school, and by Nathan himself.
Sam’s determined to expose the real reason his friend died and clear Nathan’s name—even if it’s the last thing he does. Which, considering how fast the death toll is increasing in Stonebridge… it might be.
Thank you to Prism Book Alliance for helping me celebrate the release of Double Indemnity today!
Maggie Kavanagh Discusses Double Indemnity
Though it can be overlooked, to me the setting of a book is almost as important as the characters or plot. The right setting can provide atmosphere, increase tension, and portray critical information about the main characters. Ideally, the setting will contribute to the immersive experience of the book. For a murder mystery, especially, a well-drawn setting makes the action pop and provides a canvass for unraveling whodunit.
For Double Indemnity, I chose to create a city rather than use a real one. While setting contemporary fiction in a real town can have many benefits—familiar places appeal to readers and allow writers to describe with a broader stroke—I wanted the freedom of inventing my own. Keeping the world fictional provides security as well, since the story deals with murder under potentially realistic circumstances.
However, Stonebridge was inspired by places I’ve visited, and for those familiar with New England, you might imagine it as New Haven, CT combined with Bridgeport, with a smattering of the more affluent Westport thrown in for good measure. West Stonebridge is wealthy, suburban, and gentrified, while Stonebridge proper is a racially diverse, postindustrial port city. Sam Flynn, the POV character, is a landscaper by trade who works in the former but lives in the latter. His profession combines with his liberal politics to make him see the many disparities between the two locales.
Spaces within the larger framed setting are also important. Much of the action occurs in the homes of both of the main characters. Sam has a basic, messy apartment in an old building downtown with a nonfunctioning elevator and hot water problems. In many ways, his unkempt home is a reflection of his troubled life and issues with addiction. However, Sam also loves the gritty realness of Stonebridge, and he is entirely at home there.
Nathan Walker, in contrast, lives in a huge, modernized farmhouse on the outskirts of West Stonebridge, far away from the rougher downtown. He and his wife have acres of property that insulate them from their neighbors. While the difference in living arrangements might suggest the Walkers’ have it made, their perfect home isn’t as perfect as it appears. In fact, Nathan is a deeply lonely man.
There are other spaces and locations that are integral to the characters and the novel, but I’ll leave them to you to discover!
“Do you want to sleep at my place?” The words escaped Sam’s mouth before he could stop them. Nathan stared at him dumbly. “I mean, it’s not much, certainly not anything comparable to what you’re used to. I’ve only got the one bed and it sags in the middle. But you’re more than welcome to take it, and I’ll sleep on the couch. That is, if you want.” Sam ran a hand through his hair and stared at his feet. “Never mind. It was a stupid idea.”
“No, no, I… yeah.”
Sam stood awkwardly in the hall and waited while Nathan gathered a few things, like they were going to a slumber party. He should have kept his mouth shut. He never thought Nathan would actually say yes, and now he had to play host to a grieving man in an apartment full of takeout containers and dirty laundry. His sheets were probably ripe enough to get up and walk away on their own.
“My truck’s out here.” Sam led the way after Nathan locked the door. He carried a small bag and had managed to get a pair of shoes on his feet and tie them. He left the gun on the entryway table. Maybe the random invitation had sobered him up.
Nathan climbed into the passenger’s seat and nearly fell back out trying to close the door. Maybe not.
“It’s about a twenty-minute drive. You need me to pull over, let me know.”
“I’ll be fine.” The haughtiness in his tone made Sam smile to himself as he started the engine. His truck rumbled loudly to life. The muffler and exhaust needed replacing, but Sam hadn’t gotten around to it. He’d probably need a new car altogether before the winter set in. Fat chance given the state of his finances.
By the time they reached Sam’s neighborhood, Nathan had nodded off. He startled awake when Sam shook his arm.
“Here we are,” Sam said. “Home, sweet home.”
Sam got out of the truck and helped Nathan up the four flights of stairs. If Nathan leaned a little too hard on Sam or got a little too close, Sam didn’t say anything about it. He had left the TV on, so some sitcom laugh track greeted them as they entered. It was hot and loud inside the apartment. The asshole upstairs was having a party.
Sam’s hand-me-down couch, a floral eyesore courtesy of his grandparents’ retirement to Florida, seemed to catch Nathan by surprise. He blinked and looked around, and Sam’s stomach squirmed with shame. How could he expect a guy like Nathan to be comfortable here?
“It’s terrible, but it’s home.” Sam gestured for Nathan to follow. “I’ll show you where you can sleep.”
He made use of Nathan’s delayed reaction time to tidy up the floor and kick some dirty clothes under the bed. Fuck. No wonder he never brought guys back here. The place really was a shithole. He vowed to be more diligent in his cleaning enterprises and turned on the light. Nathan watched him from the doorway.
“Sorry it’s kind of a mess. I don’t usually have guys over. Or girls. Er, anyone, really.”
“It’s okay. I appreciate your hospitality, and to be honest, I’d rather sleep in a pit of vipers than at home.”
“Indiana Jones fan, huh? I guess this is one step up from vipers.”
“At least two, I’d say.”
About the Author:
Maggie Kavanagh writes gay romances that explore flawed, human characters finding love. A recent Yankee transplant to Los Angeles, her heart still resides in New England. She went to graduate school for English literature and reads and writes voraciously, whenever she can get a moment alone. You can find her in the wee morning hours typing away with coffee at hand and cat in lap, happily embodying the romance writer cliché.
While she focuses mainly on contemporary romance, don’t be surprised if a historical or supernatural tale slips into the mix, as she’s always eager to discover different genres. More fiction is forthcoming soon, so stay tuned!
Friday, Jan 23: Carly’s Book Reviews, Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway
Monday, Jan 26: Prism Book Alliance, Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway
Tuesday, Jan 27: Dreamspinner Press Blog, Release Party and Twitter Takeover
Wednesday, Jan 28: The Novel Approach, Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway
Thursday, Jan 29: Love Bytes Reviews, Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway
Friday, Jan 30: Keysmash Blog, Guest Post and Excerpt
Maggie Kavanagh has kindly offered an eBook copy of Double Indemnity for 1 lucky commenter.
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CST. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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