Friday, January 30, 2015

Shadows in the Fog by Greg Messel | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Author Interview, and Giveaway

The Blurb

The story begins on a stormy morning in February of 1959. The front page of the morning paper is dominated by news of the plane crash which killed rock ’n roll stars Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens. 

Private Eye Sam Slater is hired to perform what he thinks is a routine two-day job as a favor for a friend. However, it all goes terribly wrong when a young San Francisco policeman is gunned down while sitting in a parked car with Sam. 

The murder sets off a chain of events which will pull Sam and his wife and partner, Amelia, into a dangerous web of intrigue in the dark, shadowy alleys and back rooms of San Francisco’s Chinatown. 

In the winter of 1959, Amelia resigns as a TWA stewardess and is now Sam’s full time partner in the private eye business. 

Sam and Amelia inadvertently come in conflict with the San Francisco mob boss after helping a crusading newspaper reporter who is working to expose corruption in Chinatown. Now a mysterious dark car follows the Slaters every where they go. Sam and Amelia discover a hidden world of corrupt cops, gambling parlors, brothels and human trafficking exists right under their noses. 

At the same time, a rising California politician hires Sam and Amelia to find his daughter who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. The search is prompted by the sudden appearance of a letter from the woman, who was presumed dead. 

As Sam and Amelia pursue these cases, they discover that all the clues lead them back to Chinatown. The Slaters want to avoid taking on the San Francisco crime lords head-on. However, when Amelia is kidnapped in an alley during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, Sam plunges himself into danger desperately searching Chinatown to find her before it’s too late. 

The reader will be drawn into fast moving events which culminate in a harrowing conclusion as Sam Slater races against the clock on a foggy night in Chinatown.

Shadows In The Fog is the fifth book in the the award winning Sam Slater Mysteries Series but is a stand-alone thriller in the tradition of great whodunits.

Shadows in the Fog by Greg Messel 
Series: Sam Slater Mystery, #5
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Paperback: 353 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0985485986
E-Book File Size: 6352 KB

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The Excerpt

The heavy blanket of clouds that had hung on the city all day was especially thick in the Ocean Beach area near Playland. It felt like rain.

When Amelia arrived at her car, which she had parked in a side lot by the Funhouse, she opened the door before removing her trench coat and tossing it on the front seat. She had been overdressed in Cassandra’s parlor, leaving on her coat over her gray wool dress.

As she stood by her car, a slow moving large blue car caught her eye. She froze. There were two lines of parked cars in the lot.  Amelia noticed that the driver of the car seemed to be watching her as he slowly drove through the parking lot.

She watched the man suspiciously and wondered if he might be looking for a parking spot. Maybe the man in the blue car was waiting for her to vacate her spot. Amelia continue to watch him and thought if he tried something she could always turn and run into the Funhouse.

The large blue car then stopped as it entered the row where Amelia was parked. 

Amelia leaned in to place her purse on the seat and thought of taking the handgun out of her purse. It was then that the blue car suddenly accelerated and then slammed on its brakes with a screech right behind Amelia’s car. 

Amelia had been concentrating on the slow-moving car and never saw the second man rapidly approaching her from behind.  The assailant put a black hood over Amelia’s head and grabbed her arm, painfully twisting it behind her before pushing her into the back seat of the blue car. The swiftness of the attack was so unexpected that Amelia had no chance to cry out before she felt herself being held down on the back seat by the large powerful man.

She heard the car door slam. “Let’s get outta here!” the man said to his partner and the car began to drive away. 

Interview with the Author

I have a special guest in the studio today.  
Please help me welcome Greg Messel!

Did you have a specific inspiration for this book?

I’ve always loved reading good mysteries and watching thrillers from the 1950s and 1960s in movies. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and spent much of my childhood in the city by the Bay. The two things came together in my mind one day as I walked around AT&T Park where the Giants play baseball. I began remembering my first big league game at Seals Stadium right after the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958. One thing led to another and these characters emerged. 

Do you have a favorite character in this book? 

In the beginning I would have said Sam. He’s a cool guy, a man’s man—war hero, baseball player—good guy to have a beer with. However, I think the character that has morphed into the most interesting character is Amelia. She was a glamour girl as a TWA stewardess but there is much more too her. Like their cop friend Vince Marino says to Sam in “Shadows in the Fog,”  “Amelia’s a tough little Irish girl who looks like the homecoming queen but it solid steel inside.”

What is the best part of being an author?

You can go live in a different world with your characters while you are writing. I love that opportunity to live in their world. I really enjoy going back to the 1950s and being with Sam and Amelia in my mystery series. 

When and why did you begin writing? 

I’ve been writing my whole life, mostly as a newspaperman. I was a stringer for the local newspaper in the Bay Area during high school and college. I covered sports and wrote movie reviews. I later had a ten year stint as a columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper in Wyoming. I didn’t begin to write novels until my late 50s.

Do you prefer to write books that are in a series, or stand-alone books?

My first three books were stand-alone. However, I’ve really enjoyed writing a series and being able to spend much more time with the characters and their development. I guess I would say I prefer the series but it is very difficult to come up with a good idea that would sustain a series. 

Can you tell us about any books you may have in the planning stage? 

I’m working on the sixth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series “Cable Car Mystery.” I’ve written about 100 pages. I'm at the fun part. I’ve written myself into some corners by establishing the mystery. Now I’m trying to figure out how to solve them. I’ve also got the outline for a couple of other books that will be stand-alone books and that are not part of the Sam Slater Mystery series. After “Cable Car Mystery” I plan to write one more in the series but we’ll see how that goes. It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to my characters in the series. 

What books by other authors have influenced your life? 

“My Losing Season” by Pat Conroy, where he played basketball and had several experiences which closely paralleled mine own. I read “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles in high school and it made me want to be a writer. “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a true work of art.

Which writer would you consider to be a mentor? 

I don’t know if I could claim any writer as a mentor. I wish. I’ve been to several writing conferences in Seattle and always come away wiser and more enthused about writing. 

What are you currently reading?

Michael Connelly’s “The Burning Room.”

Do you have any hobbies other than reading?

I’m an avid movie buff. I probably go to the movie theatre a couple of times a week. The rest of the nights I often watch a DVD from my movie collection. I love old film noir and mystery as you can probably tell from reading my books. I also try to run three miles every day. I enjoy running. 

Are there any new authors who have captured your interest? 

I meet several independent authors who I think are tremendously talented. I’m part of several groups of authors and really enjoy my interaction. I also actively correspond with authors on Goodreads. I really enjoyed Michelle Bellon’s books. She’s a single mom and a nurse and turns out very interesting books. I also loved Frederick Lee Brooke’s book “Doing Max Vinyl” and “Zombie Candy.”  Carl Hiaasen’s books (Skinny Dipping and Bad Monkey) are hilarious and he writes fascinating books.

If you could have a dinner party and invite four authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite, and why?

Mark Twain would have to be at the top of the list. I’d love to talk to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have had a chance to talk to Sue Grafton and found her very charming. Michael Connelly is a really cool guy. It might be fun to talk to Hemingway but he might start a fight at the dinner party.  I really like Pat Conroy and his books about growing up in the South.

What four items do you always have in your fridge or pantry?

Diet Coke, Orange Juice, Yogurt and bottled water. I do eat solid food as well. 

Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?

I plan to keep writing books and more books in the Sam Slater Mystery series. I hope you enjoy being transported back in time to San Francisco in the late 1950s. 


Well, that's all the time we have for today's interview.  Thank you so much, Greg, for visiting the Jane Reads studio, and thank you to our great studio audience!  I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did.

The Author

About Greg Messel

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg retired from the corporate world and now lives in South Jordan, Utah with his wife of over 40 years, Carol Madsen Messel. They have three adult children who are married and have 11 grandchildren.

Greg has written eight novels. His latest is "Shadows In The Fog" which is the fifth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty."

Greg is currently working on his ninth novel--the sixth in the mystery series--"Cable Car Mystery"--which will be published in late 2015.

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The Giveaway

Greg Messel is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
This giveaway begins December 1 and ends February 13.
Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 16.
Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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