Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DEAD WOOD - Guest Post by Dani Amore

Today I'm pleased to welcome the beautiful and talented, Dani Amore, to the blog and invite you to read about her latest book, Dead Wood. Dani first showed up on my radar on twitter when she tweeted to tell me how much she loved the color scheme I had chosen for my twitter profile. Always the first to compliment, Dani is my ray of light on a cold day; always sending me smooches through the twitter feed. She's an incredible writer, too.  So let's welcome Dani to My Friends Call Me Kate... *smooches* to my favorite girl!

“The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”
-William Faulkner

What if you made a mistake so bad, it actually cost someone their life?  And what if it had been your job, your duty, to protect that person?  How would it make you feel?  How would you survive?

Would it ever come back to haunt you?

The idea came from a true story. The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer used to drug his victims. Once they passed out, he would kill and dismember them, then have sex with their body parts.

One of his victims, however, managed to escape. He staggered into the street, completely drugged out, and flagged down a cop. Dahmer came chasing after him and convinced the cop the victim was his boyfriend, and was merely drunk.

The cop gave the victim back to Dahmer, who took him back to his apartment and butchered him.

That story, as well as the quote above from Faulkner, made the idea of living with a tragic past the starting point for my new crime novel DEAD WOOD.

In DEAD WOOD, John Rockne is a cop who inadvertently causes the death of a young man.  His police career over, he eventually ends up as a private investigator in Grosse Pointe.  Rockne takes on a case involving the brutal murder of a woman who builds custom guitars.  Soon, he becomes the target of a violent ex-con and comes up against a mysterious hired killer with links to his own tragic past.

The idea of never being able to forget your past was central to me.  It seems in my own life that whenever I’ve been arrogant enough to believe that a certain part of my history was gone and forgotten – BAM – it popped up in the strangest of places.

It also explains why I was so drawn to the idea of this salvaged wood.  Imagine hundreds of years ago, trees already five, six, maybe even seven hundred years old are chopped down and transported via water.  Maybe a lake, or maybe a river.  A storm hits and the wood eventually sinks to the bottom of Lake Michigan, or Lake Huron, or Lake St. Clare.  In the deep cold water, the wood is perfectly preserved.

Fast forward to present time, someone figures out that the expense of locating and retrieving this “dead wood” is miniscule compared to how much it can be sold for.

It was a perfect metaphor.  Like the wood at the bottom of the lake, Rockne’s past refused to be forgotten.  It suddenly popped to the surface, as whole and intact as the day it had disappeared.

I hope you will consider reading DEAD WOOD.   I’m busy working on the sequel.  There’s one little loose end that will come back stronger, meaner and even nastier in Book Two.

Some things, it seems, just refuse to stay hidden.





“Dead Wood is a fast-paced, unpredictable mystery with an engaging narrator and a rich cast of original supporting characters.” –Thomas Perry, Edgar-winning author of The Butcher’s Boy.
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“From its opening lines, Dani Amore and her private eye novel DEAD WOOD recall early James Ellroy: a fresh attitude and voice and the heady rush of boundless yearning and ambition. This is the first new private eye novel in a long time that just swept me along for the ride. Amore is definitely one to watch.” — Edgar-nominated author Craig McDonald

Dani Amore’s writing reminds me of the great thriller writers -- lean, mean, no nonsense prose that gets straight to the point and keeps you turning those pages.  --author Robert Gregory Browne

"As gritty as the Detroit streets where it's set, DEAD WOOD grabs you early on and doesn't let go. As fine a a debut as you'll come across this year, maybe any year."   --author Tom Schreck

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Dani Amore is a crime novelist living in Los Angeles, California.  You can find out more about her at  Or follow her on Twitter:  @authordaniamore


Sabrina E. Ogden said...

Beautiful post, Dani... Dead Wood is a wonderful book. *smooches*

Elizabeth said...

Dead Wood is a spectacular read indeed. Thanks for a look at the process behind it, Dani.

Thomas Pluck said...

You sold me on it.

Christine H. said...

Well Sabrina/Kate and Dani, Dead Wood sounds like something I definitely want to buy and read. I enjoy the novels based on true facts. Something I'm looking forward to reading. Keep up the good work Dani and GOOD LUCK on your second book. Sabrina/Kate, THANK YOU, as always.