The Chairman’s Toys
by Graham Reed
on Tour August 1-31, 2018
Vancouver, British Columbia – land of psychotically expensive real estate, high-grade cannabis, and Jake Constable. A man adrift.
After Jake quits the drug business, his realtor/ex-wife, Nina, gets him a job as a house sitter for her wealthy clients. Jake celebrates by throwing a party in the mansion he was hired to look after. Unfortunately, the guest list gets out of hand, leaving Jake to contend with a hallucinogenic-vitamin-dispensing yogi, a dead guy in the bathroom, and The Norwegian – a criminal force of nature with a grudge against Jake.
When the owner of the multimillion-dollar crime scene returns home prematurely, only Jake’s inadvertent discovery of the man’s politically incorrect business history saves him from having to clean up after the party. But he still has to come clean with his ex-wife. The situation threatens to turn into an international incident when Nina’s power broker uncle and a pair of secret agents from China show up to turn the screws on Jake. Soon after that his friends start disappearing. With the Chinese government leaning on him and The Norwegian out to settle an old score, Jake comes up with a desperate plan to dupe the secret agents, save his friends, and (why not?) solve the murder.
“…takes the reader on a fast, furious, and often hilarious tour. Watching him zigzag through the twisting plot is pure pleasure.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Reed’s lively mystery debut may be overloaded with colorful characters and tricky subplots, but too much of a good thing is still a good thing.” – Kirkus Reviews
“…definitely belongs on your short list of amiable stoner sleuths, along with Bart Schneider’s Augie Boyer and Hal Ackerman’s Harry Stein. The dark-comedy aspect of this debut will also appeal to fans of Chris Knopf, David Freed, and Tim Cockey.” – Booklist
**Check out my review HERE and enter the giveaway**
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Humor
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 238
ISBN: 1464210055 (ISBN13: 9781464210051)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound
Graham Reed is an award-winning author of crime fiction who lives on a small island in the Salish Sea with is wife and two children.
Catch Up With Graham Reed On:
**Q&A with Graham Reed**
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Absolutely. I honestly don’t know how an author can avoid doing so (unless maybe he or she is writing a period piece or space opera). Writing in the first person, I couldn’t help but draw from my own experiences, like the time I was at this rave and someone offered in Vegas three days later a troupe of Belgian mimes and a (semi) tame cheetah. The charges were ultimately dropped for lack of evidence but I promise you I will never do that again. As for current events, The Chairman’s Toys is set in present-day Vancouver so some of the conflicts that arise in the story are inspired by what’s going on here these days. That being said, all characters and events are, of course, pure fiction.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Much to my surprise, it has turned out to be the latter. The genesis of The Chairman’s Toys was a situation that occurred to me while walking past some waterfront mansions in Vancouver one day. By the time I got home I thought I knew how the story would end, but that actually turned out to be the middle. Once I started writing and discovered that the characters had minds of their own, I surrendered and the story took off on its own merry way.
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Not remotely, but try telling that to the people I know.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I wrote The Chairman’s Toys shortly after the birth of our second child so a routine was not an option. Mostly I would snatch whatever quiet hours he deigned to allow. A few times when he wasn’t feeling magnanimous in that department, I ended up writing while sitting on a lawn chair on our micro-balcony overlooking the collection of derelict vehicles (Scooby Doo van, RV, electric bike) in the backyard of the bellicose skateboarding entrepreneur who lived across the alley. Does that count as an idiosyncrasy?
Tell us why we should read this book.
According to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, “This trip to Vancouver is fraught with uniquely individual characters, an appealingly lowbrow sleuth, and a black humor zigzag of a plot.” If you want to join a gut-churning, blood-curdling hunt for a sadistic serial killer, you must’ve clicked the wrong link.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, Jonathan Lethem, Raymond Chandler, Kinky Friedman, Donald Westlake, Patrick DeWitt, Haruki Murakami, Neal Stephenson, Maurice Sendak.
What are you reading now?
Marry, Bang, Kill by Andrew Battershill. His first novel, Pillow, was a mindblowing fusion of crime fiction and surrealism executed with tremendous literary skill and creative freedom. Battershill is an inspired and inspiring author.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Did my publisher ask you to ask me that? I promise I am! My next book is a sequel of sorts, featuring the return of Jake Constable and a few of the other characters (some the worse for wear), as well as a few new faces. Jake is forced to reckon with the personal, professional, and societal impacts of the impending legalization of marijuana, as well as another spiritually seismic movement (some might even describe it as a cult, though they might be wrong).
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool 2; Van Wilder: Party Liaison) was born to play Jake Constable (or maybe Jake Constable was born to be played by Ryan Reynolds). If he’s unavailable, I would also be willing to take lunches with Ryan Gosling and/or Joaquim Phoenix to discuss their respective visions for the role.
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (Game of Thrones). Despite being Icelandic, Björnsson did beat a 1000-year-old record set by Orm Storolfsson at the World’s Strongest Viking competition in Norway. He’s got the ‘can do’ attitude that defines The Norwegian’s character.
Lucy Liu as Nina. No question about it.
For Richard I’m seeing Orlando Bloom, and Oscar Isaac would be fascinating as Dante.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Settling back on the couch with a good book and immediately falling asleep.
The Salsiccia Piccante from Pizzeria Prima Strada
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