Skip to main content

Steve Brewer / Max Austin's Duke City Series

Steve Brewer returns to tell us about his pseudonymous series centered not on a single protagonist but on the varied denizens of a city:

Can you write a series that doesn't have a continuing protagonist? Does that even qualify as a series? Those are the questions I asked myself as I wrote my new Duke City crime series for Random House/Alibi. I'm writing the series under a pen name – Max Austin – and felt like pushing the envelope. Books about crooks, with no white knight in sight.

The novels have protagonists, of course, but each one features a different cast of criminals. Some minor characters and law enforcement types continue throughout, and Duke City – my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico – is practically a character itself. But the protagonists change from book to book.

Over my 20-year publishing career, I've drifted toward the criminal side of the crime novel. I've written about plenty of good guys, but it's always been the bad guys who interest me most. With the exception of A Box of Pandoras, all my recent stand-alone novels center on crooks, often small-timers who are in over their heads. It's fertile ground to work.

The first Max Austin novel, Duke City Split, was published in April as an ebook original from Alibi. It stars two professional robbers who hit it big when they knock over an Albuquerque bank. Duke City Hit, which comes out December 16, is about a hitman who learns he has a grown son. The son wants to get into the family business.

The third one, Duke City Desperado, features two nimrods who try to rob a drive-through bank. It's slated for June 2015, and will be my 27th published book.

Those three were sold as a trilogy, but I'm polishing up a fourth Duke City novel now. It pulls together characters and events from the first three books, and writing it has been a real high-wire act.

Is it a series yet? I guess I'll leave that up to the readers. I'll keep doing what I'm doing, because I'm having a ball writing these books about crooks. —Steve Brewer

Comments

Radine Ramsey said…
I am looking forward to the next book in the series! The first book was great!

Popular posts from this blog

2017 Derringer Finalist Hilde Vandermeeren

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

The 2017 Derringers were open to works whose first English translations were published in 2016. Belgian children's, YA, and adult psychological thriller author Hilde Vandermeeren's Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words) contender "The Lighthouse" was translated from Flemish by the SMFS's Josh Pachter, and appeared in the March/April 2016 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Josh also kindly translated this interview to and from Flemish.


Describe your story in up to 20 words.

In a lighthouse on an island far from shore, a man suspects that his wife is trying to kill him. (20 words!)

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writi…

2017 Derringer Finalist O'Neil De Noux

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

A 2009 Derringer winner, O'Neil De Noux is a five-time finalist after his stories contending in two categories this year, for Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words), published in Flash Bang Mysteries, "A Just Reward", and for Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words), published in The Strand Magazine, "Effect on Men".

Describe your stories in up to 20 words each.

"A Just Reward": A man tries to pull a fast one to collect a reward. He underestimates the police and there’s a reckoning.

“Effect on Men”: Patricia has "this effect on men" and draws a private detective into a murder plot, leaving him with a hard choice.

What were the most d…

2017 Derringer Finalist Terrie Farley Moran

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

Terrie Farley Moran won Best Novelette (8,001–20,000 words) with the Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine story, "Inquiry and Assistance". Terrie also writes a Florida cozy novel series whose protagonists own the Read 'Em and Eat bookstore cafe, "where murder and sweet tea are always on the menu." The first in the series, Well Read, Then Dead, won Malice Domestic's 2014 Best First Novel Agatha Award.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

Tommy Flood, down on his luck but high on self-confidence, invents a career, deflects a beating, and solves a crime.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

The m…