DARK SIDE OF SUNSET POINTE by Michael Allan Scott showcase & interview


Lance Underphal was devastated by his wife’s death, and now, the down-and-out crime-scene photographer can’t let her go. He wakes up plagued by premonitions. The double shooting of an Arizona real estate developer and his mistress/bookkeeper immerse Underphal in a world of incomprehensible phenomena.
Frank Salmon, the homicide detective on the case, does his best to blow off Underphal’s “visions.” But the murders keep piling up and the visions are all too real.
Salmon pursues Underphal’s clues from a popular strip club to a failing community bank, adding a blackmailing stripper to the body count.
Underphal struggles mightily with his psychic curse, teetering on the brink of insanity. His only hope for redemption is the voice in his head, the voice of his dead wife. Stumbling through dark vortexes of murderous intrigue, he comes to realize his visions will either kill him or lead to the capture of a killer—maybe more than one.

Read an excerpt:
Whiting runs a trembling hand through thinning hair, his scalp hot and moist. They’ve got to do something about these numbers. Short stubble on raw cheeks twitches as he anxiously works his jaws. They could lose the whole damn project. Thirty million! He can’t believe it, he’s bet everything on this project. And with the hard-money loan, they’ve got a bigger nut than ever. Shit! Those hard-money bastards, they’re Rodriguez’s contacts. Of course they had to have the money to finish—all the construction cost overruns. Fucking Rodriguez. His fingers manically drum on the hardwood desktop, their nails ragged, bitten to the quick. They’re in way too deep to quit now.
Chewing his bottom lip, Whiting redials Rodriguez’s cell.
Rodriguez sounds out of breath, frustrated. “Damn Gary, whaddaya want?”
“Mike, we need to go over some numbers. Ya got a minute?”
Rodriguez gives a short chuckle then lowers his voice, “I’m kinda in the middle of somethin’.”
“Yeah, but . . .” Gary hears a thump, then a woman’s muffled words. “Hey, are you at the office? Who’s with you?”
“Yeah, like I said, we’re kinda in the middle of somethin’ here.”
Whiting hears giggling in the background.
To Diane, Rodriguez says, “Stop that.” To Gary, he says, “Diane’s never done it on the desk before.”
Whiting can almost hear Rodriguez’s leering grin.
In the background Diane laughs then says, “Do I get overtime for this?”
Now they’re both laughing.
“Damn . . . Mike, you guys . . . in the office?”
“Hey, don’t sweat it. It’s almost seven, no one’s around, yard gates are locked, lights are off. No one’s gonna know.”
Whiting hears Diane coo and then more giggling.
Rodriguez speaks closer into the phone, “That is, as long as you keep your mouth shut.”
“Hey, no problem. I don’t care what you do with Diane. She’s your bookkeeper.”
Diane lets out a short yelp and says “What was that?”
“Shit!” Rodriguez whispers, “Shit.”
“Mike, what’s going on?”
“Hold on, I think someone’s here.”
Whiting hears grunting, rustling, probably scrambling for clothes, the metallic snap of window blinds.
Under his breath, Rodriguez says “Who’s that?” He whispers to Diane, “Get your panties on.”
Whiting hears Diane whine, “I’m trying.”
He hears Rodriguez whispering to himself, “Who is that? Is that . . ? I’ll get that bastard.”
Rodriguez says, “Gary, hold on, I gotta take a picture with this thing, hold on.”
“Okay.” Whiting hears the blinds clacking.
He hears Rodriguez talking to himself, “Damn, it’s dark . . . but I think I got ‘em.”
“Mike . . . Mike?”
“Yeah, I’m back, hold on. Gotta check this out.”
Whiting clutches the phone in a sweaty hand, pressed hard against his ear. He hears a loud bang. A door slamming the wall? Too weird. He needs a Valium.
Diane screams. Rodriguez yells, “You, you asshole! What the fuck do you want!?!”
Whiting hears POP, POP! Screeching, a low grunt, loud thumps . . . POP, POP, POP! “Uh, uh, uh . . .” Guttural gasps. A long wail. High-pitched keening, its otherworldly echo raising every hair on goose flesh. Whiting drops the receiver, horrified. The plastic handset bounces off the desktop as it sinks in. They’ve been shot!

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Telemachus Press
Publication Date: 11/19/2012
Number of Pages: 382
978-1-938701-94-8 ebook
978-1-938701-95-5 paperback





Born and raised at the edge of the high desert in Kingman, Arizona, Michael Allan Scott resides in Scottsdale with his wife, Cynthia and their hundred-pound Doberman, Otto. In addition to writing mysteries and speculative fiction, his interests include music, photography, art, scuba diving and auto racing.
Connect with Michael at these sites:


Q&A with Michael Allan Scott

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Both. The Lance Underphal mysteries are loosely based on real life experiences over a backdrop of current events at the time.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?  I have a basic story idea and rough out the bones of the plot and characters in notes, then let ‘er rip. I compare it to jazz composition. Once I have the basic structure down, I improvise and let it take me where it will.

Your routine when writing?
Simple, really. I schedule my writing time for the week ahead, then do my best to adhere to my schedule. I track my progress weekly based on word count.

Any idiosyncrasies?
Hmm … depends on who you ask. I rarely write more than an hour straight, taking breaks and short walks when the mood hits to stay fresh. Sometimes I’ll listen to a particular piece of music to establish the emotional tone I want to achieve.

Is writing your full time job?
Yes, one of them. Sixty/seventy hour work weeks are common for me.

If not, may I ask what you do by day? 
Of course I write and market my writing. Additionally, I own and operate a commercial real estate company.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
When it comes to mystery, James Lee Burke and Michael Connelly come to mind. And of course, Edgar Allan Poe.

What are you reading now?
I read several books at a time—keeps me from getting bored. The paperbacks include: The Death Artist by Jonathan Santlofer, The Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonald, Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo, and collection of Poe short stories edited by Michael Connelly titled In the Shadow of the Master. On my Kindle, I’m reading: Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn and Reconing by R.S. Guthrie. BTW, this list should not be taken as a recommendation.

Are you working on your next novel?
I just finished the first draft.

Can you tell us a little about it?
If I can’t, who can? 🙂 Titled Grey Daze, it’s the third Lance Underphal Mystery and is due out this summer. Like its predecessors, it is a hardcore contemporary mystery/thriller with a paranormal twist. Lance and his friends find themselves tracking down a crime ring that preys on the elderly. They find the killers and then it gets hairy.

Here’s an excerpt:
“It’s all white except for naked trees and grey light. Still and frozen like a perfect image etched in frosted glass. The snow, crystalline powder piled up in mounds, spreads along the riverbanks like a sparkling blanket of diamonds—the river, a mirror of blue ice. A hush as thick as the snow. Tiny flakes of icy fluff fill the air before my eyes. The only sounds are the hiss of my blades slicing virgin ice and my lungs pumping frosty breaths into a streaming cloud behind me like a quietly thundering locomotive. Pushing, my eyes water with the cold, blood pounding in my ears as my thighs burn. I glide into its beauty, nature’s elements in perfect balance, exhilarated as I rush into the outstretched arms of God.

Smiling and spent, I circle back and head for home, convinced this is as much of God as I’ll ever know. I soon see our cabin up ahead, buried up to the window frames in drifted snow. Its roof, a steeple of purest white—a curl of smoke drifting up from its chimney to disappear into the haze. It’s early, I wonder if she’s up yet. I want to tell her how beautiful it all is. Beaming, I lean into it. Can’t wait to see her.

I quietly hang my skates on a peg in the mudroom, careful not to wake her. Cringing as the hinges creak, I try to be quiet. Something’s wrong. As I pad softly across the cold flagstone, I hear her weeping. She’s on her knees, hunched over in the middle of the room, her back to me, facing the fireplace. Something’s very wrong. I want to rush to her, but I can’t. I force myself to take a step closer, then another. In a hoarse whisper, I say, “Callie?” She lets out a mournful wail from deep within as she turns to me, our infant son in her arms, blue and still. I reel from the blow. How can this be? We don’t have a son!”

Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
Of course, I’m expecting all my books will be made into movies. In fact, the writing style is more visual than typical novels, custom-built for movie adaptation. That said, for the first book, Dark Side of Sunset Pointe, I envision Jack Nicholson or John Travolta as Lance Underphal and Ryan Gosling or Brad Pitt as Detective Frank Salmon.

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard? 
All on a word processor. I can barely type fast enough to keep up.  Hand written, OMG can you imagine?

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I love auto racing, scuba diving and photography. I do my best to work in photography with whatever I’m doing. I have a little more than 25 hours of Hammerhead and White Tip shark video from the last dive trip to Cocos Island.

Favorite meal?
A large T-Bone steak, thick and rare; real mashed potatoes oozing real butter; and a big slice of chocolate layer cake with dark chocolate icing. (okay, guess I’d throw in a salad, if I had to – a fresh Wedge salad with real blue cheese, bacon, fresh tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.) And the last time I had a dinner like this was at least ten years ago. Ah well … at least I can dream.


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