The new Derek Mason Mystery is going to the editor next week. The title is SCALPING THE RED ROCKS and it is set in my former hometown of Sedona, Arizona – hence the red rocks reference.
If you've never been to Sedona, you need to add it to your list of places to see. There is too much to cover here, and there are plenty of websites, guide books, magazines, and blogs to tell you to visit the places that advertise with them. So, if you decide to go, let me know and I'll give you some tips on places to go and places to stay away from. You see, after five years there, working and knowing people in the workforce, I know the businesses and people that are true and the ones that are out to make a fast buck.
Funny, how businesses will spend thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising an image that their employment practices destroy with the locals. The locals are the workforce, so my advice to the businesses (not just in Sedona, but everywhere) is to treat employees fair because that's a brand you can't buy your way out of.
With that bit of opinion on business operations, I want to say that it does factor into SCALPING THE RED ROCKS. Here's the backcover summary:
SCALPING THE RED ROCKS – a Derek Mason Mystery
Something's askew in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. The town's inhabitants are divided by urban growth. Some entrepreneurs try to make a quick buck by selling out the very aspect of the town that drew them: the awe-inspiring views and natural beauty. Spirited, passionate, and a bit mettlesome, Derek Mason helps his aunt Ruby find her place in the New Age haven, but instead they discover her real estate agent scalped in an empty condo. The crafty real estate agent had intended to sell off part of the pristine landscape, to scalp the land to the highest bidder, but someone scalped him first.
Derek meets Myra and Toper, best friends with a shared secret from Devil's Bridge; Kimbo Blue, a former child star from Hollywood with a eunuch-ness that defies his adult persona; Clarity Received, the new-age girlfriend of the victim; and Tricia, the diva ex-wife. Along with a troupe of paranoid art gallery owners, gossipy sales clerks, sexy day workers, and a Jeep-driving Yavapai Apache, the quirky characters of the resort town hamper Derek's attempts to expose the killer.
Small town secrets, shady deals, and serial arsonists threaten to throw Derek off the trail. The destructive power of greed materializes in the idyllic setting, and Derek struggles to keep his sense of self-value over the immediate gratification of self-indulgence. Temptation from his past jeopardizes his future, unless he can tame his libido and focus. Or will he lose his head too?
The landscape is spectacular, but the dynamic that makes Sedona memorable is her inhabitants. Like most resort/tourist towns, the place has some eccentric characters. One disclaimer that I'm sure I'll have to issue over and over:
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, or events is entirely coincidental.
Please look for SCALPING THE RED ROCKS this July.