Title: Hit and Mist (Silicon Valley Mystery #4)
Author: Marc Jedel
Published on: 8th May 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Super Secret Agent Marty is back in action! *Plays Pink Panther theme music in the background*
The cops have a code name for Marty – after all, he’s a secret agent you see… His identity is kept a secret… so secret that nobody except Marty knows about this. Any guesses as to what Marty’s code name is? PRINCESS!
So Princess… oops, I mean Marty and his girlfriend Meghan are at the gym. Meghan wants Marty to try the new kickboxing class. Their instructor Gabriela walks out after the sweaty kickboxing session and asks her class to get ready for the next session – yoga! Marty and yoga? There’s a loud bang; Marty and others rush out to see Brody (the Starbucks barista) injured and Gabriela dead.
Marty and Meghan go kayaking – a nice change of scenery after the blast and all that, you see… But nope, Marty comes across another crime scene there! Brody’s there too. Brody is arrested for the two murders and it is up to Marty to prove Brody’s innocence.
I have been waiting for this book for quite sometime now. The Silicon Valley Mysteries is one of my favorite cozy series. Marty is quirky and wackalicious. Marc Jedel’s storytelling is excellent – a mystery with oodles of quirky-doo. Oh yeah, how can I not mention the Silicon Valley – Marty is a coder, socially awkward, quirky and an introvert – in other words, Marty and I have a lot in common. 😀
In Chutes and Ladders, we saw Marty’s colleague Raj leaving for India. Marty knows Raj is going to come back with a wife and guess what?? 😀 😀 Meet Mrs. Amrita Raj. 😉 Ooh yes, Fernando (not the don) is as curious as Marty about this murder case. The duo go in search of clues. There is someone who’s being influenced by Marty’s case-solving curiosity; this person calls herself not-so-gullible.
Meghan has a connection with Gabriela so she wants to know who killed the gym instructor. As Marty and Meghan go sleuthing, they uncover a dearth of secrets about Gabriela.
The recurring characters in this story include Marty’s sister Lainey and her two kids, Mrs Kim, Raj, Fernando (the don), Brody and Detective Mace. I have read and liked all the books in this series so far. However, I felt the quirk factor was a little low in this book. I know things will get better in the next installment – after all, Don Fernando vows Marty a favor. Yet again!
Hit and Mist is an entertaining and engrossing read. I highly recommend you to read this series. Quirky, wackalicious and hi-larious mystery featuring a wacky-doo coder named Marty. 😀
INTERVIEW WITH MARC JEDEL
Hello Marc and welcome to my blog. Please tell me and my readers about yourself.
Hi! Thanks for having me on your blog today. I feel like I’ve been preparing to be a fiction writer for a long time. My years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley helped hone my writing skills. While these high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called the output emails, ads, and marketing collateral.
Family and friends would tell you that the protagonist in my stories, Marty Golden, isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me, but I accept that. Unlike Marty, I have a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who is often the first to weigh in on the humor in his writing. The dog wants co-author status but I refuse until he contributes some useful dialogue.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
I’ve wanted to write a book forever. For the longest time, it seemed I couldn’t come up with a good plot. Yet, my writing research clearly demonstrated that having a plot is critical for a successful book. One day, I received this awesome birthday drawing from my nieces. And my kids, or nieces, or one of my friends’ kids had done some crazy things. Probably all of the above.
One thing led to another and the idea formed to loosely base a mystery with a self-absorbed, fashion-backward software engineer, his sister, and his nieces on my life. It’s clearly fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.
What’s the inspiration behind the Silicon Valley Mystery series?
I enjoyed reading the occasional cozy mystery but found myself getting bored with the similar settings and characters over and over. I realized that a male protagonist could stand out from the rest and that I hadn’t seen any novels that showcased the weird, wacky world of Silicon Valley. I didn’t want to write geeky stories, but to present the tremendous diversity of people, backgrounds, and experiences that exist here. Making Marty an engineer seemed natural for Silicon Valley especially as this allows him to work remotely, come and go from work at unusual hours, and invent some cool things. So this gave me a male sleuth who doesn’t run a bakery, bookshop, or bed&breakfast in an uncommon setting.
I’ve also become bored by cozies where the supposedly amateur sleuth protagonist gets extensive help from the police and is generally the only competent person in the story. I wanted my stories to follow a different path. So despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. He’s got an active inner voice and doesn’t do a lot of advance planning.
Instead he throws himself into solving problems. Sometimes, he even succeeds. I almost think of this series as “Monk meets Inspector Gadget meets Pink Panther meets James Bond (in Marty’s own mind).”
In any case, I enjoy spending time in the character’s head and with his friends so that keeps me working on new stories. I hope readers enjoy Marty and his nieces, sister, and other wacky side characters too. As they’ll see, some of these help and some hinder Marty’s progress.
What are you currently working on?
I’m busy trying to finish a prequel novella that would take place before Uncle and Ants (Book 1). Readers who join my mailing list at www.marcjedel.com will get it for free. The gist of that prequel has Marty telling his nieces how he came to dislike sending mail, grocery stores, and authority figures. It all started when he was a high school senior dealing with a bully right before a shelter-in-place health crisis . . .
What excites me about my plot is that Marty will realize he actually helped solve a crime only as he’s telling the story to his nieces since he didn’t realize what was happening at the time. It’s a fun challenge to figure out how to show this adult realizing what had really happened even though the teenage Marty didn’t have a clue. So I guess not much has changed for Marty.
In addition, I’m developing the plot for book 5 and 6 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series. Book 5 will see Marty solving a crime in Hawaii, hopefully in a homage to Agatha Christie. I’ve also developed some early ideas for a different cozy series that would take place in rural Arkansas with a fish-out-of-water main character who is visiting from a big city. Throw in some ideas for a fantasy book, a thriller, and a sci-fi novel and I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.
What does a day in Marc Jedel’s life look like?
I exercise most mornings and my dog gets a walk every afternoon whether he’s in the mood or not. Walking tends to be a particularly effective time for me to work out some sticky plot points. In addition to my writing, I volunteer for a variety of local nonprofits. During this shelter-in- place, I’ve been doing my volunteering virtually via phone and computer.
But I try to get something done on my books every day. I enjoy my writing days the best, especially if I’m in a good flow. For me that tends to be when I’ve got a good idea for how the scene will end or have a funny situation that I want to incorporate into the plot. Other days I’m working on editing drafts of my work or marketing stuff. Those days feel less creative but I still get a good sense of accomplishment when I can check something off my to-do list.
Often I’m jotting down thoughts on possible plots or researching crimes and how my character would figure it out. Ever since I started down the path of becoming a mystery author, I’ve found that my internet searches have become quite strange since becoming an author. I definitely hope that no one has hacked my Wi-Fi and wonders why I’m looking for unusual ways to kill people or researching whether certain substances will cause instant or lingering death.
I’ve also found myself paying far more attention to people around me in lines, restaurants, and all those other public places where I used to see actual people before all this shelter-in-place stuff started. While I’ve always been an introvert, I’ve now become quite willing to approach people I’ve never met to ask them about their unusual clothes or to ask a question about something I overheard.
Who’d have thought that becoming an author would make me more outgoing and odd at the same time?
There’s a giveaway for this tour. Giveaway details are here.
Many thanks to Lori for the blog tour invite.