My last two novels, ‘The Last Gig’ and ‘Sick Like That,’ centered on a young Puerto Rican woman from Brooklyn. She grew up on the streets and entered adulthood carrying some baggage, and the first book opens with her working for an ex-cop who is now in the private investigating business. Up until this book, I resisted writing a detective novel because there are so many of them out there and they truly do range from the sublime to the ridiculous, with most of them fairly heavily weighted toward the ridiculous end of the scale. Almost none of the works in the genre deal with the mundane reality of what these guys actually do. I know a bit about that because, believe it or not, my mother-in-law actually worked for one, a fact which I still find excruciatingly funny. In any event, I began to wonder what it would look like if I used that boring reality as a starting point, and Alessandra Martillo was born. Martillo, by the way, is Spanish for hammer.
So anyway, ‘The Last Gig’ and ‘Sick Like That’ came out in hard cover, got thrown at the wall, and didn’t stick. I got some great reviews and a lot of nice feedback but the hardcover editions didn’t sell very well and that was the end of that. To this day, though, I get more emails about Al and her story than about anything else I’ve written, and a couple of my friends from Brooklyn swear that they knew her and maybe even went out with her a few times.
Long story short (a good policy), HarperCollins has reissued both books and they are available in paper or e-book form. I loved writing Alessandra, loved her feral and antisocial nature, loved her direct approach to problem solving. If these new editions get any traction, maybe I’ll write another one.